News Highlights

Find speeches, press releases and forum replies. rss icon
Click here for E-Consultation.

07 Nov 2022

3rd Dec 2019

Patients lie at the heart of the healthcare system. Their safety and welfare are paramount and non-negotiable. The relationship between the patient and the doctor is a fundamental cornerstone of the health ecosystem. Trust is a core component of that relationship. The Workgroup to Review the Taking of Informed Consent and the Singapore Medical Council’s (SMC) Disciplinary Process was formed against a backdrop that threatened to erode that trust and undermine the strength and proper functioning of the health ecosystem. There was a pressing need to address these concerns.

2.     The Workgroup was appointed in March 2019, and given the mandate to review two broad issues and to make recommendations on them.

         i) First, what is the applicable standard of care when taking informed consent, and how that standard is to be judged. A lack of clarity on this could lead to the practice of defensive medicine, which ultimately undermines patient safety and also increases costs of medical care.

          ii) Second, to undertake an extensive review of the efficacy of SMC’s regulatory functions and processes, to ensure that outcomes are fair, independent and consistent. It is important to maintain confidence in SMC’s role as a regulatory body tasked to maintain and enforce professional standards.

Extensive Engagement by Workgroup

3.      The Workgroup – comprising doctors, legal professionals, and other persons with relevant experience – was given a broad mandate to review and make recommendations on the taking of informed consent and the SMC disciplinary process. We encouraged the Workgroup to consult widely to understand the real and practical concerns confronting the medical profession.

4.      The Workgroup held more than 30 townhalls and engagement sessions. These sessions included doctors, insurers, representatives of professional bodies, and patient advocacy groups. More than 1,000 doctors from a range of diverse practices were consulted.

5.       The Workgroup has made extensive recommendations (29 recommendations in total) to address the issues put to them. Some of the recommendations would require legislative changes, whilst some others can be incorporated into the current process, and implemented immediately. Read report here.

6.       We are very grateful to the members of the Workgroup for the detailed work undertaken to prepare this report and make the recommendations. The Ministry of Health has considered the recommendations carefully and has accepted them. We will take steps to implement the recommendations, and also ensure that the proposed reforms remain sustainable and relevant in the long-term.

Category: Press Releases