Plans for TCM physicians to undergo mandatory continual training


Parents with their children waiting their turn at Yu Guo Chinese Physician Acupuncture and Physiotherapy, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic offering tui na or Chinese therapeutic massage.
Parents with their children waiting their turn at Yu Guo Chinese Physician Acupuncture and Physiotherapy, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic offering tui na or Chinese therapeutic massage.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Health Ministry is planning to make continual training and education mandatory for all traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physicians - just as it is for their Western counterparts.

This means that all those who want to renew their practising certificates will have to amass a certain number of continual TCM education points to show that they are up to date with the latest developments in the field, said Senior Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat on Wednesday morning (Aug 2).

He was speaking at the convocation of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU)/Beijing University of Chinese Medicine biomedical sciences and TCM double degree programme.

The changes will take effect after the TCM Practitioners' Act is amended, although a grace period will be provided for TCM physicians to adapt.

Changes to the Act will most likely be made within the next 12 to 18 months, but it will be several years before they take effect.

"I urge all TCM practitioners to start preparing for this, so that you refresh your skills and knowledge and keep up to date with the latest TCM developments," Mr Chee said at the ceremony at NTU.

There are 3,115 TCM practitioners registered under the TCM Practitioners Board.   

Mr Chee also announced that his ministry would be setting up a $5 million grant to develop the TCM sector.

The money will be used to help train all professionals, organise more and better courses, and help those in the industry leverage technology to provide better service.

Applications for the grant will open in January next year.

In addition, the Health Ministry will be putting in another $5 million over the next five years to encourage research in the industry.

This includes research on the benefits of traditional exercises, such as taiji, and the use of TCM herbs in disease prevention.

A $3 million grant was set aside in December 2012 for the same purpose.