Unfair to name doctor in ongoing SMC investigation

It is unusual to read a news report that Ardmore Medical Group chairman Sean Ng is being investigated by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) (Ardmore Medical Group puts IPO plans on hold, Aug 20 Aug).

SMC's disciplinary tribunal runs its trials behind closed doors. The council does not normally publicise ongoing investigations, and would issue press statements and judgment grounds only when a doctor is found guilty by the tribunal.

According to the SMC annual report, of the 159 complaints it received against 204 medical practitioners in 2017, less than 10 per cent were eventually convicted by the disciplinary tribunal and the Appeal Court.

Publicising the name of the doctor and details of the charge in ongoing SMC investigation is unfair to the doctor involved.

Though his chance of being convicted is less than 10 per cent, the public may judge the doctor involved adversely and unfairly.

Such bad publicity may affect patients' confidence in him, which will eventually affect his practice.

Due to the need to keep patients' confidentiality, the doctor involved is not able to tell his side of the story to the public.

Once negative sentiments are built up in the community and social media, it is very difficult for the doctor to regain his reputation even if he is acquitted.

Desmond Wai (Dr)