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Practicing in Cayman

As a public service, the Ministry of Health and Human Services is highlighting the registration guidelines that all doctors must follow in order to practice in the Cayman Islands.

Under the Health Practice Law (2002), the standards for all health professionals practicing in these Islands is set by the Health Practice Commission (HPC). The commission's four professional councils regulate these standards.

These four councils and the commission promote high standards in health services, and ensure that patients are receiving proper professional health care by persons who are highly trained, certified, skilled and competent.

The Medical and Dental Council licenses medical doctors, podiatrists, osteopaths, dentists, and also dental hygienists, therapists, technicians, and dental surgical assistants. The Nursing and Midwifery Council licenses all nurses and midwives, and the Pharmacy Council is responsible for pharmacists. The fourth council, the Council for Professions Allied with Medicine, licenses all other health care professionals such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, optometrists, paramedics, and mental health counsellors.

In order for a doctor's application to be considered by the Medical & Dental Council, the following items must be submitted: a completed application form; a letter explaining why the doctor is applying for registration in the Cayman Islands; certified copies of relevant diplomas and certificates; a certified copy of current licensure; and an original or certified letter of good standing from a current board of registration. All these documents can be certified by an overseas or local notary public, justice of the peace or attorney-at-law.

The applicant will also need two original letters of professional reference made within six months of receipt of application, and a police certificate. The applicant also needs to provide a character reference, made no earlier than six months prior to application for registration and from a person unrelated to the applicant by birth or marriage. The character reference must be from a person of good standing in the community who has known the applicant for at least four years, and is acceptable to the registrar (including an attorney, a notary public, justice of the peace, or a minister of religion).

Accompanying this should be a report about the applicant's physical and mental health, given by a practitioner who must not be related to the applicant by birth or marriage, and who must have known the applicant for a period of at least two years. This report also must have been made no earlier than six months prior to application for registration. The applicant also must provide one full-face, passport-size photograph, certified as taken no earlier than six months prior to application for registration.

All documents must be in English, and translated versions must be certified.

The applicants must also indicate on the application whether they are resident or visiting. An application fee of CI$250.00 (US$305.00) is required.

If an applicant is a non-Caymanian health practitioner, and is either a full-time resident or a visiting physician, he shall provide written evidence at the date of application that he is, or will be, affiliated with a registered Caymanian health practitioner in the Islands or with one of the registered healthcare facilities in the Islands.

Caymanian practitioners must present proof of Caymanian status, either by providing a birth certificate, Cayman Islands passport, Caymanian status or naturalisation/registration certificate.

The health practitioners' councils usually meet monthly. Applications received at least two weeks prior to a council meeting shall be placed on the Medical and Dental Council's monthly agenda.

If the doctor's application is approved and the registration fees are paid, a certificate of registration will be issued by the health practice councils registrar.

Cayman allows the registration of health practitioners who are fully registered, or eligible for full registration, in Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa, UK or US, or those who have met the Caribbean regional registration requirements. The applicant is responsible for providing the council with evidence of his registration or eligibility for full registration in any of the countries listed above.

"This particular requirement does not exclude anyone from practicing in Cayman," said Dr. Gerald Smith the Chairman of the Medical and Dental Council. "As a small country the Cayman Islands is not in a position to vet the qualifications of doctors wishing to practice here. We therefore selected a range of countries that is close to Cayman or from which we traditionally get many of our doctors."

"Doctors who are not registered in any of the chosen countries could still be eligible for Cayman's registration certificate," he continued. "To be considered, however, they would have to write the board exam of any of the selected countries, or provide the HPC with documentation stating that their qualifications are recognized by any of these boards."

The annual registration fee to practice is, for medical doctors, dentists, podiatrists, osteopaths (trained in US), CI$800.00 (US$976.00); other health practitioners in dentistry and physicians assistants, CI$400.00 (US$488.00).

Non-Caymanian health practitioners, in addition to being registered by the Medical and Dental Council, are required to obtain a gainful occupation licence from the Work Permit Board. For more information about the registration of health practitioners, please contact the HPC on 244-2813.

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver