Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beautiful again

Well, it looks like the recent publicity over the regulation of aesthetic medicine (or rather, the lack thereof) has stirred up quite a hornets' nest. After the initial article which seemed to imply that MOH was going to clamp down on doctors performing scientifically unproven aesthetic procedures & prescribing what was referred to as 'snake oil', MOH has just put out a press release that seeks to clarify its position on this issue (implying that there was incorrect reporting before! I, for one, would have liked to know exactly what a certain reporter's interview notes contained when she obtained the information from MOH).

Dr Huang & angry doc have both commented on this.

It's a good thing, I think, that so much publicity has been generated by this. It serves as a cautionary alert to both patients and doctors:

Patients because, obviously (& hopefully), they would be more discerning & careful about seeking such treatment & (hopefully) do more research into the various options offered to them by their aesthetic physicians....a buyer beware kind of situation, if you like. Which is kind of sad really, when you think about it, because we are talking about that (supposedly) sacred doctor-patient relationship which previously was held at a higher level of esteem than it is now.

Doctors because now, those few black sheep who may previously have been lackadaisical & perhaps, even less than ethical about the kinds of aesthetic treatments & procedures they perform on their patients, have more eyes watching them & what they do. Which will (hopefully) discourage them from continuing with any inethical practices.

To me, (and this may be opening a Pandora's box) this whole debacle seems to highlight the woeful lack of patient advocates in Singapore. And I say this as a doctor: patient advocacy may very well be exactly what the medical profession needs to stay true to its ethical standards & conduct, and what is needed in order for it to "self-regulate" effectively.


Anonymous said...

how do you think the lack of patient advocacy comes into the picture?

& how can we improve it, anyway?

aliendoc said...

Well, there aren't any organisations in Singapore (that I know of anyway) whom patients can turn to to seek help & advice in medically related matters. CASE caters to consumers, & they certainly do not have the expertise to cater to patients.
If you do a Google on patient advocacy you will find that there are such organisations in countries like UK, USA & Australia.
I honestly believe that such an organisation could work together with the SMC/SMA to improve patient safety & overall clinical quality, which, after all, are 2 important goals of self-regulation.