Sunday, July 21, 2013

How I chill out- When I don't take myself too seriously...

Dear friends,

I love this life.

I can choose to take Singapore seriously and try to dissect government policies or ( rarely) propose new ones or ... just chill out and do what I love best.

Also- I am pretty jaded about following the state of " he said/ she said" type of petty politics.

Too much negativity all round ( not just from VB and his people).

When I let loose, besides spending previous time with friends and loved ones ( not enough of both groups), I also do things by myself.

In this inner sanctum, that even my beloved is forbidden, I read books... and read happenings in my hobby groups ( and just wish...):

Books i just read:

1. Haruki Murakami : 1Q84 
I still love Norwegian Woods but I have to move on...

2. Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart 
How the west love to colonize all of us and make us white like them...

 Sadly Larsson and Achebe have both died! And Larsson's trilogy are the only books that have been published!!

Hobby groups I linger with ( but they don't know I am lurking behind in the dark)

1. Urban Sketchers Singapore ( very talented Sg artists)

2. Fountain Pen Lovers Group ( a new obsession that I will be speaking to my psychiatrist friends soon- before I spend all my children's inheritance)

Any comments, my friends?


Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Need for Guideline on Medical Fees : Aftermath of Dr Susan Lim case

Dear Friends
The letter below was published in the Straits Times Forum page (4th July 2013).

Revisit need for Fee Guideline

THE verdict of the Court of Three Judges, in dismissing an appeal by Dr Susan Lim against her professional misconduct conviction by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC), brings about a welcome closure to a contentious issue that had split the medical fraternity into two opposing factions (“Surgeon Susan Lim loses appeal”; Tuesday). Click here for background.

(Until the verdict was finally made known, no one had any inkling on which side of the fence the ruling would fall. Anyone who said “ I told you so” either had inside information or is a liar.)

 The “free market” proponents have no qualms about charging what they think is the “market rate” as, to them, medicine is just another means of making a living, and as patients come to them of their own volition.

“Caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) being a dictum that is repeated ad nauseum, they think it must be permissible to charge what the market can bear. After all, in materialistic Singapore, is not wealth the main measure of a doctor’s true worth?

 The opposing faction is made up of the “traditionalists” whose most conservative members frown upon all forms of advertising. To them, medicine is a noble calling that is different from other professions, and it is crass to even promote one’s practice.

 Patients will find them by word of mouth, hence advertising is superfluous at best and a tool for false representation at worst.

 The appellate court has decided that “a doctor cannot rely solely on the morals of the marketplace” and that there is “an objective ethical limit” on medical fees, in both private and public health care, that operates outside of contractual and market forces.

 Doctors, especially in private practice, now face a very real problem. What is this proverbial “ethical limit” that has been bandied about? What may seem like a reasonable fee to one might appear to be “fleecing” to another, thereby leading to unnecessary complaints to the SMC.

There used to be a fee guideline published by the Singapore Medical Association (SMA), but this was scrapped in 2007 as it was deemed anti-competitive by the Competition Commission of Singapore.

(The GOF was mooted in the early 1980s when the Ministry of Health, the SMA and the Association of Private Medical Practitioners of Singapore felt a need to publish a fee schedule to provide greater transparency for patients. )

 It is surely timely to revisit the need for such a guideline.

 The Academy of Medicine, SMA and the Health Ministry should also come together to provide answers to the perplexing question of what the “ethical limit” is.

Huang Shoou Chyuan (Dr)

PS: Edited out parts in (brackets)
I had blogged on this issue several times and had some letters published in both Straits Times and Today
1.Click here
2. Here