Matters of personal conduct, whether or not these occur in the working environment, or issues arising from the business aspects of practice would not normally fall within the scope of the benefits of membership, regardless of the forum in which the issue was being considered. Thus, MPS would be unlikely to assist in responding to complaints relating to matters such as overcharging, breach of advertising regulations, bullying or sexual harassment of staff or contractual disputes, although each case will be considered on its individual merits.
The range of matters that come before the Medical Council will vary between jurisdictions and reflect the individual regulatory requirements for practice in that country. Whilst the majority of complaints will relate to concerns about the standard of clinical care provided, Medical Councils will also concern themselves with a range of other issues from complaints about the business aspects of a doctor’s practice to convictions for shoplifting.
MPS has recently become aware of two areas of particular interest to Medical Councils in Asia. In Hong Kong, there has been an increase in the number of requests for assistance from members following receipt of a notification of inquiry by the Preliminary Investigation Committee for alleged failure to report, within the required timeframe, driving convictions punishable by imprisonment.
In Singapore, the SMC has referred a number of doctors to the Complaints Committee for practising without a valid Practising Certificate following failure to log the requisite number of CME points, again within the required timeframe.
Although such matters may ultimately impact on a doctor’s registration and ability to practise, of themselves they do not arise directly from the practice of medicine and hence do not fall within scope of the benefits of membership. In exceptional circumstances, MPS has exercised discretion to assist members with such matters as in the case scenario below.