Angry Doctor

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Doctor under investigation over Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Act

It seems that posts which touch on traditional Chinese Medicine generate the most 'heat' for me. :)

To belabour my point, I present another...

Bonus Bogus Story

Singapore -

A doctor is under investigation by the Singapore Medical Council under the allegation of practice in contravention to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Act.

The doctor is alleged to have given his patient advice over his medical condition relating to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) concepts.

A complaint was lodged by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board to the Singapore Medical Council, which is investigating the case.


Mr Quek Sin Say, spokesman for the TCM Practitioner Board informed Straight Times that the case was brought to their attention by one of their members, a TCM Practitioner whose premises was next door to the doctor’s clinic, who notified the Board of 'irregularities' in the doctor's practices when a patient who visited the doctor subsequently consulted him.

"We cannot reveal the identity of either party involved or the specifics of the case as it is still under preliminary investigation. The contention here is that the doctor has given a patient medical advice framed in the language of TCM, which we believe to be in contravention to the TCM Practitioner Act, which clearly states that 'no person shall carry out any prescribed practice of traditional Chinese medicine unless he is a qualified person in respect of that prescribed practice of traditional Chinese medicine and he carries out that prescribed practice in accordance with the conditions of his registration'. Moreover, he also charged the patient consultation fees during the same sitting, which is again in contravention of the TCM Practitioner Act."

Straight Times received a phone call from a general practitioner, who asked to remain anonymous, regarding the case.

"It’s actually quite common for western doctors to frame our advice to our patients in language that is familiar and acceptable to them, and these include concepts like 'wind' and 'heatiness'. I don’t see what the big fuss is," said the angry doctor.

"In fact, co-opting the patient’s belief system is encouraged and indeed taught during our community medicine course in medical school. Going by the Bolam Principle, I don't see anything wrong with what the doctor did."

The Ministry of Health declined to comment on the case.

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11 Comments:

  • Dear angry doc,

    I respect your opinions. I also admire your unwavering values and professionalism.

    I once tried to go that route and then I gave up. One big reason is that in Singapore the patients pay our bills. There is no two tiered system.

    Thus it becomes a case of customer satisfaction. In cases where your employer wants you to satisfy customers by reading up on Yin and Yang, Acid vs Alkaline concepts etc, you really have no choice but to learn and improve to the best of your ability.

    Again my stance regarding heaty and cooling is that I do NOT treat patients with that philosophy. But if they asked me what little I know, I will share with them what I learnt from the books I have read. I will even show them the books and ask them to read it. In some cases we photocopy chapters from the book and pass it to them to educate them.

    The patients are usually happy and satisfied. That unfortunately becomes the true aim of most GP practices in SIngapore; to please the customer.

    I think this is far better than the GP who shoots antibiotics or normal saline to patients to earn more cash, and the ones who tell patients with BP of 160/70 that they ae fine cos the diastolic is below 90 just to make them happy and come back to see them.

    There is nothing wrong with sharing more information. The lines between what I can consider my practice interests eg paeds, psychiatry, nutrition, alternative medicine, aesthetic medicine, mesotherapy etc are very blur. What is considered "professional" qualifications?

    For example mesotherapy? Do GPs learn this in med school? Or for the matter Botox? Or nutrition?

    Citing professionalism or a lack of "professional" training is a bad excuse for reluctance to learn and expand horizons and share them with patients.

    This is just my opinion. I am sure you beg to differ. But we all have our reasons.

    PS I am posting this from Melbourne! Yay!

    By Anonymous dr oz bloke, At November 05, 2005 7:28 pm  

  • Nicely argued! I hope you will continue to participate on this blog even when you are in Melbourne (heck, you might even want to start your own blog!).

    On a separate note, I realised that the TCM Practitional Act closely parallels the Medical Registration Act. Both have a part that says what are considered 'medical practices' which may only be done by registered practitioner. I foresee a turf war rather than integration.

    By Blogger angry doc, At November 05, 2005 9:08 pm  

  • i think the turf war thing would be more pronounced in 5 years.
    after the first batch of TCM students graduate from NTU.
    why leh?
    this time round, the TCM practitioner got uni degree leh!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 05, 2005 9:46 pm  

  • angry doc will finally get his comeuppance and have to eat bitter herbs!

    By Blogger angry doc, At November 05, 2005 10:10 pm  

  • Actually, I wonder if its possible for the TCM practitioner to get into trouble for not recognising an acute condition or some other serious disorder. Western Docs may be sued for negligence. How about Chinese trained ones? hmm

    By Anonymous james, At November 06, 2005 5:53 pm  

  • According to the TCM Practitioner Act,

    Power of Board to cancel registration, etc.
    19. —(1) The Board may cancel the registration of a registered person if the Board is satisfied that he —

    (d) has ceased to carry on the prescribed practice of traditional Chinese medicine for which he is registered;

    (f) has contravened any regulation made under this Act relating to the practice and conduct of registered persons that applies to him;

    (g) has been convicted of an offence in Singapore or elsewhere involving fraud or dishonesty;

    (h) has been convicted of an offence in Singapore or elsewhere implying a defect in character which renders him unfit to remain on the Register;

    (i) has been guilty of any professional misconduct or negligence;

    (j) has been guilty of any improper act or conduct which renders him unfit to remain on the Register; or

    (k) is unable to carry out the prescribed practice of traditional Chinese medicine for which he is registered safely or effectively by reason of a mental or physical disability.

    It goes on to say what punishment the Board may mete out.

    By Blogger angry doc, At November 06, 2005 8:31 pm  

  • Dear Dr oz bloke

    The clinics in Melbourne looks very cozy and welcoming.

    Unlike Singapore's..

    Melbourne gal

    By Anonymous melbourne gal, At November 07, 2005 6:06 pm  

  • there's this clinic in sydney which is famous for giving medical students MCs...what an irony.. that doctor graduated from Monash..

    By Anonymous sydney med student, At November 08, 2005 5:36 pm  

  • Haha.

    I suppose he assumed that if you paid the fees but didn't want to go to school...

    I didn't know they had MC in Australia.

    By Blogger angry doc, At November 08, 2005 5:58 pm  

  • Sydney med student,

    Reckon I know which Dr. u mentioned here, as I am in syd for almost 10 yrs now. Da Dr. is really "popular", especially during "peak" season!!!

    Angry doc,

    u dun need a MC for adsent from work, but definately need one for Uni if u decided to have "extra time" hand in your assignments or projects :P

    By Anonymous Oceandeepz, At November 11, 2005 1:06 am  

  • I appreciate your great work. Thanks for sharing. Keep me more update in future.

    Traditional Chinese medicine singapore

    By Blogger Robert Clark, At June 05, 2015 9:00 pm  

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