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Prominent Local Doctor Accuses MOH for Double Standards, Says Errant Doctors have been Named Before

Prominent local psychiatrist Dr Ang Yong Guan has slammed the Ministry of Health for not disclosing the names of the staff punished in relation to the Hepatitis C outbreak last year which saw 25 people infected and 8 killed.

Dr Ang, who contested in GE2015 under the SingFirst banner, accused the MOH of double standards.

The Public Service Medal winner and former President of the Singapore Psychiatric Association said that the ministry’s explanation doesn’t hold weight as errant doctors have been named in the past.

This is Dr Ang’s commentary in full:

“Sixteen senior staff – 12 from SGH and 4 from the Health Ministry – were penalised (“warnings, stern warnings, and financial penalties”) for their role in the 2015 Hepatitis C outbreak. “But the greatest penalty is not these disciplinary measures. For everyone involved, including those who had provided direct care to the affected patients, we will carry with us the pain and regret of this incident for a long time,” said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Monday 4 April 2016 in Parliament.

He also added: “Naming the individuals responsible for the hepatitis C outbreak at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) last year (2015) will develop a “blame culture” that will not help patients in the long run.”

If some of the 16 staff are from the nursing or the medical profession, what has the Singapore Nursing Board (SNB) or the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) got to say regarding naming or NOT naming the errant individuals?

We know that in the case of errant doctors, the SMC will not hesitate to name the doctors concerned.

Take the case of a psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health who initiated an affair with a patient he was seeing and was suspended from practice for 24 months by the SMC. His name was mentioned in the press (Today, 19 July 2014).

Doctors who had been found guilty for being negligent, being involved in malpractices or prescribing controlled drugs indiscriminately also had their names published in the press. They too “will carry with them the pain and regret of their wrong doing for a long time.”

There appears to be a double standard in the practice of naming or not naming of errant professionals. If we are NOT clear, we are heading down a slippery slope.

Does this mean that a criminal who is repentant and remorseful and has been sufficiently punished can now request for his name NOT to be mentioned because he feels that the “greatest penalty” is the “pain and regret” he will carry for a long time?”



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