Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Pharmacy Council incompetent, neglectful

Published:Saturday | January 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Pharmacy Council incompetent, neglectful

The Pharmacy Council of Jamaica is shirking its duties, playing the blame game and, in the midst of it, messing with people's lives. The council is trying to separate itself from the licence/exam dilemma that is having side effects on many others.

Dr Radcliffe Goulbourne was recently quoted in two articles in The Gleaner about a change in the licensing process following the previous court action. Is this change a secret? Can a one-week delay for the intended time to administer an exam cause the interns to wait for months for their results?

Many individuals are complaining that the exam has taken on a clinical format, instead of the regular practical format it was known to have in years gone by. But not only that, persons are unable to adequately prepare for the exam because there seems to be a syllabus to which only Dr Goulbourne has access.

The interns have not been provided with a syllabus. They have not the slightest idea what the exam is like, and there is never a set date for the exam. In the 21st century, other jurisdictions have a plethora of information that will help in preparation for a licensing exam.

The council wants to insult the interns and their competence by saying that they are not able to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations, but what are they doing to address this? For a statutory body, the council consistently outdoes itself with its abject failure in communication. The council says that it is supposed to be regulating the training of the interns via internship, but fails to address the numerous inconsistencies that are confronted at the different internship sites.

These inconsistencies also indirectly affect the interns' learning experience. The council, in the form of Dr Thelma Nelson and Dr Radcliffe Goulbourne, has proven to be ineffective, and has lost the confidence of the people it governs.

There is hardly any pharmacist that has a good thing to say about the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica with the current registrar and chairman at the helm. Most pharmacists have, however, settled for the gross deficiencies to prevent being made an example of. Sad to say, when good people sit and do nothing, evil must prevail, and that is exactly what is happening. People are afraid to talk up and talk out.

Another budding issue is about the council-regulated pharmaceutical students who did the pharmacy programme at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) and who are now unable to receive assistance with placement.

Now, more than 15 interns (who are slated to complete the internship programme in August 2016) will have to sit at home and wait to compete with almost 100 interns come September 2016 for a little over 70 internship spots across the island: to add to an even bigger competition list for September 2017. The council now blames UTech for taking in too many students, and vice versa.

The students/interns remain the victims and no one is communicating with them in a bid to find solutions to the problems. Hence, they are left in the cold. This indeed is a medicine poised to cause depression, migraine, high blood pressure, or even arrhythmia.

It is obvious that Dr Goulbourne and his support system are not acting in the best interest of the profession, and are trying to prove a point with their authority.

Most interns are bewildered about their future: They do not know if they will suffer a similar fate as the most recent interns or an even worse one as has been the case over the past three years.

There is so much more to add, but the minister of health and other stakeholders in the profession need to take a stand for the betterment of the profession.