Lipstick on a Pig 2
Reading this letter to the ST Forum...
TCM practitioners not exempted from duty to provide proper medical care
WE REFER to Dr Ong Siew Chey's letter on Thursday ('Certifying TCM practitioners: It opened Pandora's box').
Although Western medicine is the mainstream health-care service in Singapore, traditional medicine services such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) remain popular and are increasingly gaining public acceptance.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Act was enacted to safeguard patients' interests and safety, and to ensure an acceptable standard of TCM practice is maintained.
Singapore does not have double standards regarding medical practice. Every professional group has different qualifications, training requirements and scope of practice. TCM practitioners, by virtue of their training and practice, are not the same as Western medical practitioners. In the same way, nurses, pharmacists and other health-care professionals are also different. Therefore, not all health-care professionals could be viewed in the same way.
China's health-care practices and regulatory frameworks are different from Singapore's due to its historical and political development. While we have taken reference from China in the way TCM is regulated here, we are also developing our brand of regulatory framework, as Singapore is one of the first countries outside of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to regulate TCM.
We have much to learn and a long way to go, as the regulatory framework for TCM is still in the infancy stage compared to the regulatory framework for Western medicine. As a matter of fact, the current Singapore TCM regulatory framework has taken reference from the regulatory framework as set out in the Medical Registration Act and the Dentists Act, in particular, with regard to the disciplinary powers of the TCM Practitioners Board over TCM practitioners.
This is not a case where TCM practitioners enjoy any exemption from their obligation to provide proper and adequate medical care. If any TCM practitioner is found guilty of misconduct or improper behaviour, he will be dealt with by the TCM Practitioners Board.
We thank Dr Ong for his feedback, and welcome feedback and ideas from the TCM community, the health-care family and the public to make our TCM regulatory framework one of the best in the world.
Chuo-Ng Peck Hiang (Mrs)
Executive Secretary for Registrar
TCM Practitioners Board
reminded me of this post I wrote more than a year ago.
Now Mrs Chuo-Ng is factually correct in many of the statements she made: TCM is "popular and... increasingly gaining public acceptance", the TCM Registration Act is largely based on the same framework the Medical Registration Act and the Dentists Act, and TCM practitioners are subject to penalties if they are "found guilty of misconduct or improper behaviour".
But those points do not change the fundamental fact that TCM is a pseudoscience the theory and practice of which are not based on evidence, and that no amount of legislation or regulation is going to make it so. To want to "regulate" TCM before we can even demonstrate the existence of 'qi' is as ridiculous a notion as that of having a medium registry before we can proof that spirits or deities exist.