By: Dr Ang Yong Guan
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?
Republished from Dr Ang’s FB.
Dr Ang served as a psychiatrist with the Singapore Armed Forces for 17 years from 1986 to 2003 and retired from the SAF as a Colonel, holding the appointment as the head of Psychological Medicine Branch (currently known as Psychological Care Centre) at the Military Medicine Institute, HQMC.
Apart from his impressive credentials in the military, Dr Ang was also the president of the Singapore Psychiatric Association (1997-1998); chairman of the Chapter of Psychiatrists, Academy of Medicine (2001- 2003); founder/chairman of Action Group for Mental Illness (since 2004); member of National Council on Problem Gambling (since 2005); and member of the Clinical Advisory Committee for Chronic Disease Management Programme (since 2009).
Dr Ang was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1995 for community work, and the Public Administration Medal in 1996 for military services.
He is currently in private practice at Paragon Medical.
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