The Senate approved a Bill empowering the Minister of Health to increase penalties for breaching provisions of legislation relating to certain health and allied professions and services, on Friday February 11.
The penalties have remained unchanged for decades, and are not considered serious deterrent to non-compliance with the provisions of the various Acts any more. The Bill,the Health and Allied Professions and Services (Miscellaneous Penalty Provisions) Act, 2011, seeks to amend the enactments to increase the penalties to more realistic levels.
The intention is to deter persons from purporting to provide medical, dental, nursing and supportive services to the medical profession, without being properly registered, and to encourage conformity with the relevant statutory provisions. To facilitate this, the Bill empowers the Minister to change fines under each Act, subject to affirmative resolution.
The Bill makes provision for the amendment of several Acts, including the Anatomy Act, the Children (Adoption of) Act, Children Guardianship and Custody Act, the Dental Act, the Marriage Act, the Medical Act, the Mental Health Act, the Food and Drug Act and the Leprosy Act. Thereis to be a new Section 16, to allow for the imposition of an increased fine, upon summary conviction before the Resident Magistrate Court, not exceeding $1million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.
Minister of Justice and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, piloted the Bill in the Senate Friday. It was passed in the House of Representatives on February 1.
CONTACT: LATONYA LINTON