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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Requirements and procedures to obtain a medical report from within Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as well as from abroad; names and locations of hospitals; whether there is a national standard format for the report that is issued by all hospitals in the country; if so, the information it contains; whether doctors have reporting obligations to the police regarding cases of assault, including domestic violence

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 28 October 2011
Citation / Document Symbol VCT103853.E
Related Document Saint-Vincent-et-les Grenadines : information sur les exigences et la marche à suivre pour obtenir un rapport médical depuis Saint-Vincent-et-les Grenadines et depuis l'étranger; le nom des hôpitaux et l'endroit où ils se trouvent; information indiquant si une forme type de rapport est utilisée par tous les hôpitaux du pays; le cas échéant, les renseignements qu'il contient; information indiquant si les médecins sont tenus de signaler à la police les cas d'agression, y compris les cas de violence familiale
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Requirements and procedures to obtain a medical report from within Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as well as from abroad; names and locations of hospitals; whether there is a national standard format for the report that is issued by all hospitals in the country; if so, the information it contains; whether doctors have reporting obligations to the police regarding cases of assault, including domestic violence, 28 October 2011, VCT103853.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ecdf41a2.html [accessed 22 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Procedures to obtain medical reports

An official at the Consulate General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Toronto explained, in a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, that individuals must request their medical reports directly from the hospital at which they were treated (6 Oct. 2011). According to the consular official, a requester can write directly to the institution and does not need a power of attorney to obtain the report (St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6 Oct. 2011). The official did not believe that the requester would be charged a fee, but noted that it might vary depending on the institution (ibid.).

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association (SVGHRA), whose organization has assisted clients to obtain medical reports, stated that the country's Freedom of Information Act grants Vincentians the right to access their medical records (10 Oct. 2011). According to the representative, clients of her organization will often deal directly with the doctor to obtain the report (SVGHRA 10 Oct. 2011). However, she noted that a person also has the option to write a letter to the hospital giving someone else permission to act on his or her behalf (ibid. 24 Oct. 2011).

Hospitals in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Sources indicate that the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) in Kingstown is the main hospital in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and that there are also smaller district hospitals (St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6 Oct. 2011; US n.d.). According to the United States (US) embassy in Barbados, the MCMH has 211 beds and a trauma capacity for 30 males and 29 females (ibid.). The US embassy also indicates that there are three other hospitals that have 12 to 20 beds but no trauma capacity:

  • Chateaubelair Hospital in Chateaubelair;
  • Georgetown Hospital in Georgetown; and
  • Port Elizabeth Hospital in Bequia (ibid.).

The US embassy also identifies two health centres with 10 to 12 beds:

  • Levi Latham Health Center in Mesopotamia Valley; and
  • Union Island Health Center in Clifton (ibid.).

A St. Vincent and the Grenadine's Ministry of Health webpage on medical care lists four hospitals in addition to the MCMH: the Bequia Hospital in Bequia; the Levi Latham Hospital in Mesopotamia; the Chateaubelair Hospital in Chateaubelair; and the Georgetown Hospital in Georgetown (n.d.b).

Procedures to request medical records from the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital

According to the Ministry of Health, patients at the MCMH have a right to "[r]eview [their] medical records without charge and obtain a copy of [their] medical records at the stipulated cost" (St. Vincent and the Grenadines n.d.a). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Deputy Hospital Administrator at the MCMH provided the hospital's protocol for releasing medical information to third-party requestors from abroad, as follows:

  1. Third parties seeking medical reports must submit a typed request to the Hospital Administrator;
  2. The name/s of the client, address used when hospitalized, alias, NOK [Next of Kin], DOB [Date of Birth] and period for which they are seeking the report must be clearly stated (date, day, month, year);
  3. Third parties must also provide signed authorization (as a separate document) by the client granting permission for the release of information;
  4. The signed authorization must included current address, contact numbers and email contact for the client in question;
  5. Prior to the generation of a medical report all outstanding hospital balances must be paid including the fee for the processing of the report which amounts to $100.00 EC or $37.17 US;
  6. Upon the receipt of the request a duplicate invoice will be generated and forwarded for payment;
  7. Payments can be made in cash directly at the facility or cheques or bank drafts can be made payable to the Accountant General (Only $US bank drafts are accepted);
  8. Requests for cases which were performed when the client was a child, must also include the mother's information rendered for admission or delivery (name, address, alias, NOK and DOB); [and]
  9. The processing of medical reports takes approximately 3-4 weeks. (MCMH 12 Oct. 2011b)

In a follow-up telephone interview with the Research Directorate, the Deputy Hospital Administrator stated that, in addition to requesting the medical report through the above-mentioned procedures, someone from abroad can send the hospital a written request authorizing a friend or family member in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to collect the report on his or her behalf (ibid. 12 Oct. 2011a). The Deputy Hospital Administrator noted that it was not necessary for the letter of authorization to be a power of attorney document by a notary public (ibid.). The Deputy Hospital Administrator also stated that if the former patient is in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, he or she can request the medical record from the hospital in person (ibid.).

Format of medical reports

According to the consular official, there is no standard format for the medical report used in the country, as the reports vary depending on the institution (St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6 Oct. 2011). However, he noted that all medical reports include the medical institution's letterhead and are signed by a medical practitioner (ibid.).

The Deputy Hospital Administrator stated that MCMH's medical reports vary according to injury (MCMH 12 Oct. 2011a). However, she explained that all medical reports are signed by the doctor who treated the patient, include a stamp or seal beside the doctor's signature and are issued on the hospital's letterhead (ibid.). The letterhead displays St. Vincent and the Grenadines' coat of arms in the top-left corner and the name "Milton Cato Memorial Hospital" centred at the top (ibid. 12 Oct. 2011b). Underneath the name of the hospital are "Kingstown," "St. Vincent and the Grenadines," the telephone and fax numbers and the email address (ibid. 12 Oct. 2011b).

Reporting obligations for cases of assault and domestic violence

Information about whether doctors are required to report to the police injuries caused by assault or domestic violence was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. According to the Ministry of Health, patients at the MCMH have a right to "[p]rivacy and confidentiality of illness and records, and documentation of care except in cases of suspected abuse, legal issues and health hazards when reporting is required by law" (St. Vincent and the Grenadines n.d.a). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of Marion House, an organization that provides a variety of social services, including counselling, to victims of domestic violence, maintains that personnel at health centres refer victims of domestic violence and abuse to the police (17 Oct. 2011). However, the SVGHRA representative stated that it is not mandatory to report domestic violence (24 Oct. 2011).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Marion House. 17 October 2011. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.

Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH). 12 October 2011a. Telephone interview with the Deputy Hospital Administrator by the Research Directorate.

_____. 12 October 2011b. Correspondence from the Deputy Hospital Administrator to the Research Directorate.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 6 October 2011. Consulate General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Toronto. Telephone interview with a consular official by the Research Directorate.

_____. N.d.a. Ministry of Health. "Patient's Guide." [Accessed 13 Oct. 2011]

_____. N.d.b. Ministry of Health. "Medical and Heath Care." [Accessed 13 Oct. 2011]

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association (SVGHRA). 24 October 2011. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.

_____. 10 October 2011. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.

United States (US). N.d. Embassy of the United States in Barbados. "Medical Facilities. St. Vincent and the Grenadines." [Accessed 27 Sept. 2011]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: A representative from the Ministry of Health was unable to provide information.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International, Factiva, Human Rights Watch, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, United Nations Refworld, The Vincentian.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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