Government authorities in Barbados say their hands are tied from taking any action to shut down the medical clinic of cardiologist Dr Alfred Sparman.
Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic has said that neither his Government nor the Barbados Medical Council – the profession’s regulatory agency – can do anything about Sparman’s operations or complaints against him because of a longstanding High Court judgment that is pending, arising out of a lawsuit against the council.
Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been officially asked by a United Kingdom parliamentarian to take steps including engagement with the local government to close Sparman’s practice.
The request from Member of Parliament Alec Shelbrooke in a letter dated August 9, 2019 and addressed to Minister of State for the Americas in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Christopher Pincher asks that the FCO work with the Mia Mottley administration to bring an end to the private clinic operated in Belleville, St Michael.
Shelbrooke is the son-in-law of British citizen Gordon Spencer, who died in a British hospital on February 13 this year, after being in the care of the Sparman Clinic in Barbados for ten days.
Barbados TODAY broke the story on June 26 with Shelbrooke describing to the British Parliament “the barbaric treatment” that his father-in-law received at the clinic in Barbados, which he alleges “ultimately” led to his death. Shelbrooke is alleging that his father-in-law did not receive the best possible medical care available at the Sparman facility.
But today, Health Minister Bostic said there is nothing the medical council can do until the judge rules on the case filed by Sparman on July 5, 2013 asking the court to overturn the council’s decision not to register him to practice as a cardiologist.
“The problem is that the matter has been before the High Court for about the last four years waiting on a judgment. It is a court matter with the Barbados Medical Council and Sparman, but Sparman is registered as a general practitioner and not as a surgeon. The issue is, until we get that judgment from the court, there is very little that the ministry or the medical council can do,” the Minister told Barbados TODAY.
Asked if the authorities’ hands are therefore tied, he replied: “Yes, that is what I discovered…because the matter has been ongoing for quite some time, so there is nothing further until we are able to get the court to make the judgment.”
A check by Barbados TODAY of the Official Gazette has confirmed that Sparman is on the list of Persons Registered as Medical Practitioners but not the list of Medical Practitioners Registered as Specialists and their Specialties.
Sparman’s 2013 suit accuses the council of acting “recklessly and without consideration” for his practice while noting that for almost a year, it had not dealt with two applications relating to his registration before it.
Meanwhile the British MP told the Parliament that since the story of his father-in-law became public, several people in Barbados had been contacting him about the treatment meted out to them at the Sparman clinic.
Sparman has maintained that the various accusations against him and his clinic are unjust, unfair and without foundation.
The controversial doctor even seems willing to go to court, particularly in response to claims by the British parliamentarian that several Barbadians have complained to him about not receiving proper care at the Sparman facility.
“If someone feels that an injustice was done or substandard care performed, then the court is there to resolve these issues,” Sparman told Barbados TODAY late last month.
Efforts to reach Sparman this evening proved unsuccessful up to the time of publication.