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.
In 2001, MPS received a number of requests for assistance from members in Hong Kong in responding to PIC Notices of Inquiry for failure to report driving convictions punishable by imprisonment. Many doctors had been unaware of this obligation until a high-profile case was reported in the media in 2009, following which the doctors reported the conviction on each subsequent application for renewal of their practising certificates.
MPS exercised discretion to assist these doctors on the basis that there was evidence that the requirement to report the conviction was not well publicised before 2009
Notwithstanding that the doctors had rectified their earlier oversight, and that in one case, the conviction in question related to an incident 17 years earlier, the Medical Council proceeded to prosecute for failure to notify within the prescribed timeframe. MPS exercised discretion to assist these doctors on the basis that there was evidence that the requirement to report the conviction was not well publicised before 2009, and that all the doctors in question had subsequently rectified their error.
- MPS obligations to its individual members has to be balanced against the duty to the wider membership to use funds wisely.
- Benefits of membership are for matters arising directly from the practice of medicine, namely professional conduct and/or competence.
- MPS will not normally assist in matters of personal conduct or those arising from the business aspects of practice.
- Members should ensure that they are aware of all reporting obligations placed on them by the Medical Council as MPS is unlikely to assist with any investigation into a failure to comply with the regulator’s stipulations.