Continuing support for professionalising TCM practice

We refer to the letters on the role of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The Government recognises that TCM plays a complementary but significant role in Singapore's healthcare landscape.

In November 2000, Parliament passed the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Act 2000, which established the legal status of TCM.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) also set up the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board to regulate and manage professional matters relating to TCM practitioners.

To further support, raise standards and develop capabilities of TCM practitioners, the $3 million TCM Clinical Research Grant (TCMCRG) introduced last year,

to be administered over a period of five years, aims to encourage TCM clinical research and collaboration between TCM practitioners and mainstream medicine researchers on chronic diseases.

A total of 24 proposals were received from the first TCMCRG grant call, out of which six were eventually shortlisted. These studies are done collaboratively between TCM practitioners and researchers from our healthcare institutions.

MOH also constantly reviews the regulations and policies on TCM, taking into consideration the scientific advancements and rising standards of TCM.

The ministry has allowed more flexibility in the use of some TCM herbs over the years, to allow practitioners more options in the use of TCM in their practice and service to the public.

As TCM is complementary medicine, government subsidies do not apply at TCM clinics.

There are currently more than 40 charitable TCM organisations providing easy access to affordable TCM services in the community, and seniors who wish to seek

TCM treatment may do so at these clinics.

The ministry will continue to support and promote the professionalisation of TCM and its practitioners. We need to do so in a way that ensures consistency and safety of its use.

Ng Han Seong (Professor)

Head

Traditional and Complementary Medicine Branch

Primary and Community Care Division

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'Continuing support for professionalising TCM practice'. Print Edition | Subscribe