Medical Board to probe Sawh
THE MEDICAL Board has decided to investigate the allegations against Dr Avinash Sawh, who has been accused of making racist statements in telephone calls with a former employee.
In January, the board wrote to Sawh’s attorney Martin George, agreeing there was a procedural flaw in the way the complaint against the doctor had been received.
After its regular monthly meeting in February, the board wrote to George again on Wednesday, informing him of its new decision to embark on an inquiry.
It said, “Having considered the matter, the council has chosen to exercise its own independent discretion to carry out an inquiry under Section 24 of the Medical Board Act in relation to your client.
“The council is of the view that there is sufficient material to warrant a decision to carry out this inquiry at this stage,” attorney for the board, Rajiv Persad said in the letter.
Sawh, who is based in San Fernando, has ten daysto respond. The board’s council also wants to know if Sawh was the person in the now-viral video and audio recording and if the doctor held a press conference on November 11, last year, to apologise for his comments in the recording.
Persad said it was the statutory obligation of the council to enquire into “the circumstances of the possible infamous and disgraceful conduct of members of the board generally, and the case of Dr Avinash Sawh if the recorded conversation is genuine.”
Sawh was invited to provide the board with a written response to the material it had received in ten days.
“We wish to make clear that at this stage we are simply asking for a response to the material that has been provided to the council.
“Once we receive your written response the council will take your representations into account and based on what your client says, the council would be in a better position to determine what further steps if any need to be taken,” Persad said.
Section 24 of the Medical Board Act gives the council avenues to deal with potential matters of discipline.
The council had three avenues to consider before deciding whether to hold an investigation: if it received representations by four board members; on its own discretion, even without a complaint; or if it received a complaint.
In advising of its decision, Persad also said the council had taken into account the recorded conversation, only accessible on social media, of what appeared to be Sawh and his employee which contained offensive content.
It also considered the representation, in the form of letters and e-mails, from the public, a board member, media coverage and the Health Minister’s correspondence; the nature and content of the recording and the public dissemination of it as well as the recording.
Contacted on Friday, George said he will be meeting with Sawh on Monday to discuss the board’s decision.
BY: JADA LOUTOO