SMC has done good job of dealing with complaints against doctors

It is not easy for the SMC to determine and regulate the conduct and ethics of about 14,000 registered medical practitioners.
It is not easy for the SMC to determine and regulate the conduct and ethics of about 14,000 registered medical practitioners. PHOTO: ST FILE

The medical fraternity need not lose confidence in the self-regulatory process of the Singapore Medical Council (SMC), which has done a good job dealing with an increasing number of complaints against doctors over the last 15 years (Doctors may be losing confidence in SMC's self-regulatory process, April 2).

It is not easy for the SMC to determine and regulate the conduct and ethics of about 14,000 registered medical practitioners.

It has to ensure that doctors perform their duty within the ethical code and guidelines.

Just like any court case, long delays are unavoidable as the tribunal processes require manpower from a few committees for due diligence in investigation and deliberation processes before judgment is passed.

The recent SMC cases may have shocked doctors.

But they may be nothing compared with the pain and grief suffered by the family of a cancer patient, whose disease was not detected early by Changi General Hospital and who died earlier this week (Cancer patient dies five weeks after winning case against CGH, April 2).

As a patient, I agree with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong that we should guard against turning into the kind of society where doctors care more about not being sued or disciplined by the professional body than about patients' well-being (Health Ministry to spell out doctors' obligations clearly, April 2). It is necessary that the healthcare industry puts patients' interests first.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2019, with the headline 'SMC has done good job of dealing with complaints against doctors'. Print Edition | Subscribe