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Council registers Sparman

Photo caption: Dr Alfred Sparman with his certificate from the Barbados Medical Council granting him licence to practice as a cardiologist. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)
by John Boyce

AFTER ALMOST A DECADE of legal battles, Dr Alfred Sparman has now been recognised by the Barbados Medical Council as a cardiologist.

His attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham QC told the Weekend Nation that late last year the Medical Council communicated to him and Sparman that they had reconsidered and approved his application for registration as a cardiologist and that he has “now been duly entered on the Roll of Specialists effective January 21”.

Sparman sued the Medical Council on July 5, 2013, accusing it of acting “recklessly and without consideration” for his practice because it had not dealt with two applications relating to his registration. As a result of not being registered, the cardiologist said in his affidavit that several patients terminated their relationship with him and cancelled appointments as they read articles in the newspaper and believed that he was unable to continue his practice. Against the background of now being given the specialty licence, the cardiologist told this newspaper that he is elated with the decision though there was a lot of “sacrifice and pain”. “Every doctor who does cardiology has to go through a fellowship programme, which I did, and completed it successfully and practised in the United States for two and a half years,” he said. He added that it was “heartbreaking” when he came to Barbados already qualified as a cardiologist from 1998 and doing angioplasty and treating cardiovascular patients in 2001 then having to seek redress in the courts to be recognised by the Medical Council.

“I am, however, elated at the decision and indeed God has been good. I feel a great weight has been taken off my shoulder . . . I feel excellent.” He said when he got the certificate he was almost at the point of tears and shared his elation with his staff. Sparman, who began practicing medicine as a cardiologist in Barbados in 2001 applied to the Council to be registered in 2012, but was refused. “In 2011, the new Medial Professional Act came into being and created the requirement for a new specialist register.

All specialists were required to seek approval from the Medical Council to be entered into the roll of specialists,” Sir Richard said. He added that by that time Sparman had been practising as a cardiologist for ten years “and duly applied and was refused registration in 2012”. Sparman then filed a claim in the High Court in 2014 seeking judicial review of that refusal, after the decision not to register him was reconfirmed. “The details of the court decision delivered on October 2019 were widely reported at the time, so too was the initial refusal to register him as a cardiologist,”

Sir Richard said. He, however, added that without revisiting the specifics of the decision, Sparman was successful in his claim and the Supreme Court required the Medical Council to reconsider his application. Sir Richard said the issue was hinged on an old Medical Registration Act which made no distinction between specialists and general practitioners.

This article was originally published in the Nation Newspaper 2021-01-31

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