On 24 July 2014, the Singapore Medical Council (the “SMC”) and the Ministry of Health (the “MOH”) announced through separate press releases that they welcome and are generally in agreement with the recommendations made by the Review Committee (for Disciplinary Processes) (the “Review Committee”) to strengthen the SMC’s disciplinary framework and process. The Review Committee, which submitted its report on 1 November 2013, was appointed by the SMC to look into the existing disciplinary process and to make recommendations to strengthen and streamline the disciplinary system for the just and expeditious management of complaints.
The SMC says that it will implement the recommendations in a phased two-stage approach:
- Amend the SMC's internal processes and policies; and
- Work with the MOH to suggest necessary changes to the Medical Registration Act and Medical Registration Regulations
The SMC informed that recommendations which do not require legislative amendments have been implemented or would be implemented shortly. For instance, the SMC has started informing Complaints Committees of previous complaints made against the medical practitioner being investigated (which were not dismissed), and will publish on its website the grounds of decisions of acquitted cases and work towards the eventual publication of the grounds of decisions of previous Disciplinary Committees from 2008 onwards by the fourth quarter of 2014.
The SMC has also identified some recommendations which would require further study with a view to a possible implementation in the future. One such recommendation concerns the viability of an inquisitorial framework for medical disciplinary matters.
The SMC says it will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to review its complaints and disciplinary processes periodically to ensure that the disciplinary processes continue to be finely calibrated to cater to new developments in the field of medicine as well as to the needs of an increasingly complex environment.
The following reference materials are available from the respective websites.
From the SMC website www.smc.gov.sg:
From the MOH website www.moh.gov.sg: