Medical Council Act


Part II- The Council

SUBPART A - ESTABLISHMENT AND FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNCIL

(3) Establishment of Council

  1. There is established for the purposes of this Act a Council which shall be known as the Medical Council of Mauritius.
  2. The Council shall be a body corporate.

(4) Composition of Council

(1)  The Council shall consist of—

(a) 14 registered medical practitioners;

(b) a representative of the Ministry responsible for the subject of health, who is a registered medical practitioner;

(c) a representative of the Prime Minister's Office;

(d) a representative of the Attorney-General's Office; and

(e) 5 persons who, not being medical practitioners, shall be appointed by the Minister.

(2)  The 14 members referred to in subsection (1) (a) shall, subject to subsections (3) and (4), be elected in the manner set out in the First Schedule from among registered medical practitioners having not less than 15 years' experience.

(3)  Eight of the 14 members referred to in subsection (1) (a) shall be public officers, out of whom 4 shall be specialists and 4 shall be general practitioners.

(4)  Out of the 6 remaining members referred to in subsection (1) (a) who are not public officers, 3 shall be specialists and 3 shall be general practitioners.

(5)  The composition of the Council shall be published in the Gazette .

[S. 4 amended by s. 4 of Act 1 of 2002 w.e.f. 29 January 2002; s. 4 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

(5) Tenure of office of members

The members of the Council shall hold office for a period of 3 years and shall—

(a) in the case of the members referred to in section 4 (1) (a), be eligible for re-election;

(b) in the case of the members referred to in section 4 (1) (e), be eligible for reappointment.

[S. 5 amended by s. 4A of Act 1 of 2002 w.e.f. 29 January 2002.]

(6) Vacation of office of member

(1)  The Council may require a member to vacate his office if he—

(a) commits a gross negligence, misconduct, default or breach of trust in the discharge of his duties, as a member or otherwise, which in the opinion of the Council renders him unfit to be a member;

(b) is incapacitated by prolonged physical or mental illness;

(c) retires, resigns or is dismissed from the public service after having been elected from among registered medical practitioners who are public officers;

(d) becomes a public officer after having been elected from amongst registered medical practitioners who are not public officers;

(e) is convicted of an offence of such nature as, in the opinion of the Council, renders him unfit to be a member;

(f) is absent without leave of the Council from 2 consecutive meetings of the Council of which he had notice; or

(g) is disqualified under this Act from practising his profession.

(2)  A member may resign by giving notice in writing to the Registrar.

(3)  Where a member resigns under subsection (2), his seat shall become vacant when the Registrar receives the notice.

(4)  The Council may suspend a member of the Council against whom—

(a) criminal proceedings are instituted for an offence punishable by imprisonment;

(b) disciplinary proceedings are instituted—

(i) by the Council on any ground involving fraud, dishonesty, gross negligence, infamous conduct or breach of the Code of Practice; or

(ii) by the Public Service Commission on any ground involving fraud, dishonesty, gross negligence, or infamous conduct.

(7) Filling of vacancies on Council

(1)  If a member of the Council dies, resigns or is removed from office, the vacancy shall be filled—

(a) in the case of a member appointed by the Minister, by a fresh appointment;

(b) in the case of a member elected from amongst public officers, by appointing the public officer who obtained the highest number of votes after the elected public officers at the election held immediately before the vacancy arose;

(c) in the case of a member who is not a public officer, by appointing the person who, not being a public officer, obtained the highest number of votes after the members elected, from among persons who are not public officers, at the election held immediately before the vacancy arose; or

(d) by holding a fresh election, if no person qualifies for appointment under paragraph (b) or (c).

(2)  Where a member absents himself for a continuous period of 6 months or more, whether after, or without, having informed the Council of his absences, the Council may cause him to be replaced in the manner specified in subsection (1) (a), (1) (b) or (1) (c), as the case may be.

(3)  A member appointed or elected pursuant to subsection (1) or (2), as the case may be, shall hold office for the remainder of the term of office of the person whom he replaces.

[S. 7 amended by s. 5 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

(8) Chairperson of Council

(1)  The Council shall elect a Chairperson from among the members elected under section 4 (2).

(2)  The Chairperson shall preside at every meeting of the Council.

(3)  The Chairperson shall, in the event of an equality of votes, have a casting vote.

(4)  When the Chairperson is absent from a meeting, the members present shall elect one of the members elected under section 4 (2) to chair the meeting.

(5)  A member who intends to stand as candidate for the office of Chairperson under subsection (1) shall, not less than 3 days before the date fixed for the election of the Chairperson, notify the Registrar by registered post of his intention.

[S. 8 amended by s. 5 of Act 1 of 2002 w.e.f. 29 January 2002.]

(9) Meetings of Council

(1)  Eleven members, including the Chairperson, shall constitute a quorum at any meeting.

(2)  The validity of any decision, proceeding or act of the Council, or act done on the authority of the Council, shall not be affected by—

(a) any vacancy among the members;

(b) any defect in the appointment of a member; or

(c) the fact that some person who was not entitled to do so took part in the deliberations of the Council.

(3)  The Council shall meet at least 3 times a year.

(4)  A special meeting of the Council—

(a) may be convened by the Chairperson at any time;

(b) shall be convened by the Registrar within 7 days of the receipt by him of a request in writing signed by not less than 11 other members of the Council and specifying the purpose for which the meeting is to be convened.

(5)  The Council may set up a committee of 2 or more members for such purpose as it may determine.

[S. 9 amended by s. 6 of Act 1 of 2002 w.e.f. 29 January 2002; s. 6 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

(10) Registrar

(1)  There shall be a Registrar who shall be a registered medical practitioner.

(2)  The Registrar shall be appointed by the Council and shall hold office on such terms and conditions as the Council thinks fit.

(3)  The Registrar shall be responsible to the Council for—

(a) the proper administration of the Council;

(b) executing all decisions of the Council; and

(c) carrying out such duties as may be assigned to him by the Council.

(4)  In the exercise of his functions, the Registrar shall act in accordance with such directions as he may receive from the Council.

(5)  The Registrar shall also be the Secretary to the Council.

(6)  If the Registrar is for any reason unable to carry out his functions, the Council may appoint another person to act as Registrar.

(7)  Service of any process by, or on behalf of, the Council shall be sufficient if made by, or on behalf of, the Registrar.

(11) Appointment of employees

(1)  The Council may, on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit, appoint such employees as it considers necessary for the proper discharge of its functions under this Act.

(2)  Every employee of the Council shall be under the administrative control of the Registrar.

(12) Functions of the Council

The Council shall—

(a) exercise and maintain discipline in the practice of medicine with the assistance and support of its Disciplinary Tribunal—

(i) in relation to public officers, in respect of whom it holds a delegated power, to the extent and within the limits of that delegation of power; and

(ii) in relation to any other registered medical practitioner, in accordance with this Act;

(b) advise the Minister on any matter governed by this Act or any matter connected with, or incidental to, it;

(c) establish a Code of Practice for the medical profession on standards of professional conduct and medical ethics and monitor compliance with such a code;

(d) promote the education and training of medical practitioners generally;

(e) keep a record of all its proceedings and decisions;

(f) publish the annual list.

[S. 12 amended by s. 7 of Act 1 of 2002 w.e.f. January 2002; s. 7 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

 

SUBPART B – DISCIPLINE

(13) Preliminary investigation by Council

(1)  Subject to section 18, the Council may investigate any complaint of professional misconduct, malpractice, fraud, dishonesty or negligence or of a breach of the Code of Practice against a registered person, including a public officer in respect of whom it holds a delegated power.

(2)  Where the Council investigates a complaint, it—

(a) shall notify the person whose conduct, act or omission is under investigation, of the nature of the complaint;

(b) may summon and hear the person;

(c) may summon and hear witnesses; and

(d) may call for relevant documents and make copies of them.

(3)  The Council shall keep a proper record of its proceedings under subsection (2).

(4)  Notwithstanding section 9 (1), for the purposes of an investigation under subsection (1), the Council may appoint an investigating committee consisting of not less than 3 members.

(5)  Where, in the course of an investigation, a person refuses to give evidence or, to communicate any document, on the ground of confidentiality, the Registrar may apply to a Judge in Chambers for an order directing that person to disclose the evidence required, or communicate any document needed, for the purposes of the investigation.

(6)  The Judge shall make an order under subsection (5) if he is satisfied that the information or document the disclosure of which is sought is bona fide required for the purposes of the investigation.

[S. 13 amended by s. 8 of Act 1 of 2002 w.e.f. 29 January 2002; s. 8 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

(14) Disciplinary proceedings

(1)  Where after having carried out a preliminary investigation, the Council is satisfied that a registered person has committed—

(a) a breach of the Code of Practice;

(b) an act of fraud, dishonesty or negligence;

(c) an act of professional misconduct or malpractice; or

(d) any other act likely to bring the medical profession into disrepute,

the Council may, subject to section 19, institute disciplinary proceedings against him.

(2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), where, after an investigation under section 13, the Council considers that—

(a) there is prima facie evidence of negligence, incompetence, or grave misconduct by a registered person; and

(b) public interest requires that the registered person should instantly cease to practise medicine,

the Council may suspend the registered person from the practice of medicine for a period not exceeding 6 months, and shall, in the case of a public officer in respect of whom it holds delegated power, report the suspension to the Public Service Commission for the Commission's decision on any such suspension.

[S. 14 amended by s. 9 of Act 1 of 2002 w.e.f. 29 January 2002; s. 9 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

( 15) Disciplinary Tribunal

(1)  There is set up, for the purposes of this Act, a Disciplinary Tribunal which shall consist of—

(a) a President who—

(i) holds or has held judicial office for not less than 10 years; or

(ii) has been a law officer for not less than 10 years; and

(b) 2 other persons who are—

(i) registered medical practitioners with not less than 10 years' experience in the practice of medicine; but

(ii) are not members.

(2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1) (b), either or both of the persons referred to in that subsection may be persons registered as medical practitioners outside Mauritius and who have wide experience in the practice of medicine.

(3)  The persons referred to in subsections (1) and (2) shall be appointed by the Prime Minister on such terms and conditions as he may determine.

(4)  The Minister shall designate a public officer to be the Secretary to the Tribunal.

[S. 15 repealed and replaced by s. 10 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

( 16) Proceedings of Tribunal

(1)  The Tribunal shall sit at such place and time as the President of the Tribunal may determine.

(2)  The law of evidence shall apply to proceedings before the Tribunal.

(3)  The Tribunal may—

(a) require in writing any person to appear before it to give evidence or produce any document or other article as it may need; and

(b) take evidence on oath and, for that purpose, administer the oath.

[S. 16 repealed and replaced by s. 10 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

( 17) Disciplinary measures

(1)  Where the Council decides to institute disciplinary proceedings against a registered person and prefers charges against him, it shall require the Tribunal to inquire into the charges on its behalf into the matter.

(2)  The Tribunal shall, after conducting the enquiry, forward to the Council its report and a copy of the proceedings including any document or exhibit produced, not later than 14 days after the completion of the proceedings.

(3)  The Council shall, after considering the contents of the documents referred to in subsection (2), determine whether or not, in its opinion—

(a) the charges against the registered person have been proved; and

(b) there is any circumstance that aggravates or alleviates the charges.

(4)  The Council shall, where it determines that the charges against a registered person have been proved—

(a) in the case of a public officer in respect of whom it holds a delegated power, forward its report on the matter to the Public Service Commission; and

(b) in every other case, impose on the registered person such disciplinary measures as it thinks fit, namely—

(i) a warning or a severe warning;

(ii) a reprimand or a severe reprimand;

(iii) a suspension from medical practice for a period not exceeding 12 months; or

(iv) the removal of the registered person's name from the register.

(5)  Where the punishment inflicted by the Public Service Commission on a public officer is dismissal or retirement from the public service, the Council shall determine whether or not the person's name should be removed from the register.

(6)  A decision of the Council under subsection (4) or (5) shall be communicated to the registered person not later than 14 days from the date of the decision.

[S. 17 repealed and replaced by s. 10 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

( 18) Disciplinary measures following conviction

Where a registered person who is not a public officer has been convicted of an offence involving negligence, professional misconduct, fraud or dishonesty in the exercise of his calling, the Council may, after giving him an opportunity to show cause in writing why disciplinary measures should not be taken against him, inflict upon him any of the punishments specified in section 17 (4) (b).

[S. 18 repealed and replaced by s. 10 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]

( 19) Summary proceedings

Where after having carried out a preliminary investigation and after giving a registered medical practitioner an opportunity to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him, the Council is satisfied that the registered person has committed an act specified in section 14 (1) which, in the opinion of the Council, constitutes a minor fault, it may inflict upon that person a warning or a severe warning.

[S. 19 amended by s. 10 of Act 1 of 2002 w.e.f. 29 January 2002; repealed and replaced by s. 10 of Act 28 of 2007 w.e.f. 27 December 2007.]