Accreditation is becoming more and more important in today’s world and the Grenada Bureau of Standards is ensuring that the island is not left out in being recognised worldwide.
In recognition of World Accreditation Day, the Grenada Bureau of Standards held a workshop to encourage accreditation of medical services in the country.
The workshop was dubbed: Creating Global Confidence Through The Implementation of International Accreditation And Conformity Assessment Standards.
Accreditation is becoming mandatory and the Bureau is saying that if Grenada has to continue operating on the global playing field, it would more or less have no choice but to have its goods and services accredited.
Chairman of the Bureau’s Laboratory Services, Leonard St. Bernard said accreditation in Grenada is long overdue.
“Here at the Bureau of Standards we are on a path towards accreditation and should achieve that for our labs by the end of this year and we want to also encourage the other labs in Grenada and the other institutions that basically provide services that needs to be accredited,” St Bernard said.
“…We want to encourage you to get accreditation because if you don’t get accreditation or at least try and work towards accreditation then the overall development of the country would be significantly hampered,” he added.
St. Bernard identified medical tourism as one of the pillars that government wants to use for development but said that without accredited labs, there can be no medical tourism.
“One of the key things that tourists ask, especially the ones that have spending capital, who have money, before they go to a destination they want to know whether you have accredited medical facility because if something was to happen to them while they (are) on vacation, they want to be confident that they would get the necessary services within the country,” he explained.
Director of the Bureau of Standards, Simeon Collins touched on the standards that Grenada needs to be accredited under.
“There is an international standard that has been developed which can be used for the accreditation of Medical Labs, one has been developed to be used for the accreditation of Testing and Calibration Labs, one that has been developed for the accreditation of Conformity Assessment Bodies that do inspection and certification,” he said.
“…In order to be accredited and in order for your technical competence to be recognised worldwide, you have to meet the requirements of these standards and for this reason accreditation has become a crucial element in global and regional trade since it provides assurance as to the technical competence and integrity of medical and testing labs as well as inspection and certification,” he remarked.
The accreditation of tertiary institutions will be coming on stream soon and Acting Executive Director of the Grenada National Accreditation Board, Pauline Finlay said this is a must.
“It is important for us to note that accreditation protects the country in general and technology, we do know that technology can do a lot of good things, it can do a lot of wonderful things but it can do a lot of bad things as well, so we could have people walking around with a whole university in a briefcase and you sign up and you pay your money and you get a certificate, he walks away with the money, you get the certificate, that’s what you bargain for but that doesn’t mean it has any value,” she said.
“Presently we have some students who write to us from time to time because they go out to some institutions and they apply to be accepted and the institution says sorry but your certificate is of no value because the institution where you got it is not accredited,” she added.
Finlay believes that accreditation would prevent things like these from occurring.
Facilitator of the workshop and Manager of the Trinidad & Tobago Laboratory Accreditation Services (TTLABS), Karlene Lewis stressed that the process of getting accredited is expensive but the Trinidad outfit can help facilitate the process.
“We facilitate training programmes as well as to help laboratories and personnel develop the skills so that they are able to manage the process of accreditation themselves. I’m not going to fool you and say its an easy task, it’s not but it’s a worthwhile task because you actually see the difference in your employees in the pride that you hold in the work that you produce, it goes beyond the satisfaction of a requirement for trade,” she explained.
According to Lewis, there is a level of self-motivation and self-pride that comes from the organisation when it gains accredited recognition.