Newly qualified physician assistants and certified registered anaesthetists swearing their oaths during the induction ceremony. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Newly qualified physician assistants and certified registered anaesthetists swearing their oaths during the induction ceremony. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA

Physician assistants advised to practise within oath

Caregivers in the health sector have been advised to uphold and practice their profession oaths as in the discharge of duties not only to safeguard the integrity of their profession but also ensure efficient and safe healthcare delivery.


The advice comes in the wake of an increase in reported cases of negligence, improper conduct and unethical behaviour by health professionals by patients. The Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, Alhaji Hafiz Adam, made the call at the induction ceremony of 295 newly qualified physician assistants made up of medical, oral, and anaesthesia.

“Recent media reportage is replete with claims of professional negligence, improper conduct and unethical behaviour by doctors, dentists, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists and others.”

“The very people who openly showed their professional goals and committed themselves to serve us in our most vulnerable states are now our abusers. This is unacceptable!” Alhaji Adam said.

The induction was conducted by the Medical and Dental Council which is the statutory agency under the Ministry of Health, charged with the responsibility for the professional regulation of doctors, dentists and physician assistants in Ghana.

The newly qualified physicians pledged to hold as their primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare and dignity of all human beings.

Breach of regulation

Alhaji Adam also advised against the growing tendency of some physician assistants attempting to set up their own health facilities, particularly, in the regions and rural areas. “Some physician assistants after being trained are in the regions, trying to set up hospitals on their own. But technically, that is not right.”

He charged the newly inducted physician assistants to bide their time and learn on the job to acquire more experience to be able to serve better.

The MoH Chief Director stated that the ministry in its commitment to ensuring quality and safe basic care for all persons seeking health care in Ghana, had collaborated with the council to launch a scope of practice guidance for physician assistants to ensure they practise within competency level conferred by the training.

He called on all stakeholders to continue to support efforts being made by the Council to advance the quality and safety of medical and dental training practices for the accredited schools in the country as soon as possible.


A member of the 10th Board of the council, Dr Divine N. Banyubala, who led the ceremony, said the role of physician assistants have become very critical in healthcare delivery as they stand in the gap where there were no trained doctors.

“Many years ago, there used to be only one doctor in a district. Eventually, the doctors and dentists decided that it was important to put in place a formal training programme in order to have lower-level doctors who could stand in and be able to do the most basic things.”

He therefore charged the inductees to rather serve humanity instead of exploiting the important role they play. “From today, a greater responsibility in the care of patients will be laid at your feet, as you take the front role of frontline professionals. This role literally includes the responsibility to decide between life and death.”

“Do not present yourself as possessing expertise or training you do not have, to the detriment of your patients and remember, you are personally accountable for your professional practice.”

“You must always be prepared to justify your decisions and your actions.” Also, a member of the council, Constance Addo-Yobo, also admonished the inductees to exhibit high professional standards and practice within the regulation.

“Your training should allow you to recognise cases that are not within your scope, but you should be able to provide initial treatment for the relief of pain, and then refer to the nearest hospital that can manage the case effectively.”

She warned that: “The Medical and Dental Council reserves the right to withdraw or revoke your licence, should you engage in any form of serious malpractice or malfeasance.”

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