Looking after interests of patients, medical community

Posed photo of a doctor with a stethoscope.
Posed photo of a doctor with a stethoscope.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan for his letter (Doctors may be losing confidence in SMC's self-regulatory process, April 2).

The Ministry of Health (MOH) shares the concerns of the medical community on the issues raised.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had on April 1 clearly stated in Parliament MOH's position.

We reiterate a few points here.

Patient safety and welfare remain the ultimate goal of our healthcare system. This also means that the standards required of doctors need to be clear, and well-defined.

We recognise that more can be done, and MOH has set up a 12-member workgroup to review the legal and practical applications of taking informed consent and make recommendations on clear practical guidelines.

The workgroup will consult widely, and has been given the mandate to be comprehensive and thorough in its review.

In addition, to address the concerns, including those raised by Dr Huang, concerning the transparency and fairness of the disciplinary process and outcomes, this workgroup will also review the Singapore Medical Council's (SMC) complaints and disciplinary process, and recommend changes to improve the medical profession's professional regulatory processes.

The practice of medicine is built upon the mutual trust and respect between doctors and patients, and the highest possible standards of professional practice.

We will continue to work with our healthcare professionals for greater clarity and balance in the practice and processes in the medical community, so as to enhance patient safety and keep overall healthcare costs affordable.

Lim Siok Peng (Ms)

Director, Corporate Communications

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2019, with the headline 'Looking after interests of patients, medical community'. Print Edition | Subscribe