Forum: Review composition of Singapore Medical Council

Posed photo of a person with a stethoscope.
Posed photo of a person with a stethoscope.PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ST FILE

I refer to the case of a doctor who was struck off the Register of Medical Practitioners for wrongly certifying the cause of death no fewer than four times (Doc struck off for wrongly certifying cause of death, June 5).

After the police wrote to the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) in June 2013, the watchdog lodged a complaint against the doctor with the chairman of the Complaints Committee in November 2013. I was taken aback that it then took 51/2 years before the doctor was served with a notice of inquiry.

There was also a case in April in which a general surgeon and a psychiatrist were accused of taking advantage of vulnerable patients for sex (Doctor loses defamation suit against woman who named him in complaint, April 11).

The female patient involved complained to SMC and was later sued by one of the doctors for defamation. The suit was dismissed by a district judge who found the patient's claims to be true.

On April 18, Mr Luo Siao Ping wrote to express concern that SMC's Complaints Committee did not seem to have made progress in addressing the complaint some 22 months after it was filed (SMC inaction after dismissal of defamation suit troubling).

I think it is time the composition of the council was reviewed so as to return to the raison d'etre for setting up such a council in the first place.

An overhaul is long overdue.

Peh Chwee Hoe

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2020, with the headline 'Review composition of Singapore Medical Council'. Print Edition | Subscribe