SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - On behalf of the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), the Management would like to express sympathy to those who may have been emotionally affected by the recent unethical and negative publications about the foundation, MHF said in a statement.
“It is important that Management explains what the process has been on the hiring of any medical professional from any country who also includes medical professionals born in St. Maarten that are NON-BIG registered professionals before they are employed as dictated by the Laws of Sint Maarten issued by the Ministry of Public Health (V.S.A.):
“Step 1 – An application for Diploma evaluation must be submitted to the Ministry of Education, Division of Exam Department. This evaluation is done by this Department of all diplomas submitted by the applicant and is carefully scrutinized by Committee members that form part of the Department before they grant approval. This process takes 8 weeks or longer. Once approval is granted it is issued on a document called Diploma Evaluation Report.
“Step 2 - An application to request permission for a Medical Professional to practice on Sint Maarten called the Establishment of a Medical Professional is submitted to the Ministry of Public Health. In this process the Ministry of Public Health scrutinizes via its medical professional committee members; the approved evaluation report; a declaration of good standing from the Medical Board in the country of origin; if not Dutch then MHF submits the required Employment Permit and Resident permit and Copies of diplomas certified by a notary. This process takes 16 weeks or more.
“Step 3 - After the completion of Step 2 and 3, the Ministry issues a Ministerial Decree granting permission for the Doctor to practice on the island of St. Maarten and the final part of this process is the Oath declaration by the doctor to the Governor of St. Maarten.
“As you will note above we stated that this is the legal process for a NON-BIG registered medical professional to practice in St. Maarten. The Law outlining this can be found in the LU: “LANDSVERORDENING regelende de uitoefening van de geneeskunde”, which can also be found via Google.com:
Tot de uitoefening van de geneeskunde in haar volle omvang zijn bevoegd:
- zij, die de hoedanigheid van arts op de wijze als bedoeld in de wet van 25 december 1878 (Stbl. 222) of de regeling, welke ter vervanging van deze wet mocht worden gesteld, hebben verkregen;
- zij, die aan een van de bij landsbesluit, houdende algemene maatregelen, aan te wijzen buitenlandse universiteiten of hogescholen, een graad of diploma als geneeskundige hebben verworven en tot uitoefening van de geneeskunde in haar volle omvang in het betrokken land bevoegd zijn. Zodanige aanwijzing geschiedt niet dan nadat een bij landsbesluit te benoemen commissie, bestaande uit het Hoofd van de Inspectiedienst Volksgezondheid, Sociale Ontwikkeling en Arbeid, hierna te noemen: de Inspecteur-Generaal, als voorzitter en vier leden, die allen de hoedanigheid van arts dienen te bezitten, gehoord is omtrent de vraag of de betrokken opleiding ter verkrijging van de bedoelde graad of diploma gelijkwaardig mag worden geacht te zijn aan die welke in het Academisch Statuut (Stbl. 1921, no. 800) of de regeling welke ter vervanging van dit Besluit mocht worden gesteld, wordt verlangd ter verkrijging van de hoedanigheid van arts.
“The reason this process needs to be explained is that it is important to refute the insinuation that Mental Health Foundation is illegally hiring medical professionals. The Government of St. Maarten does not accept anyone as a Medical professional to practice medicine on Sint Maarten, without the completion of the above-mentioned procedures and neither does Mental Health Foundation.
“The unethical and gravely inconsiderate publication has caused emotional stress to employees who consider MHF not only as their employer but as their second family. Public defamation of the character of an individual and their family members is a punishable act and Management intends to conduct a thorough investigation regarding what is considered breach of confidentiality via all available legal procedures.
“We would like to express our sincere appreciation to those employees who have extended their support to the Management Team and especially to Dr. Pelswijk after the publications. We deeply appreciate the many messages and calls received from those in the community who expressed their disgust at the articles and extended their support to all staff and the Management team at MHF.
“We end this notice by reiterating the vision of the foundation: MHF maintains a professional and integral approach, broadly supported by the population and guaranteeing continuity of Mental Health Care.”