Doctors urged to keep healthcare costs affordable
PUBLISHED ON 20 Mar 2018
The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) has reminded doctors to keep healthcare costs affordable.
In a circular on 19 March 2018, the SMC said it noted the recent media coverage on rising healthcare costs, including medical insurance premiums, as well as hefty and questionable insurance claims.
“While the SMC acknowledges that there are various drivers of healthcare costs, many of which are beyond the control of doctors, doctors have a major role in managing healthcare costs, by advising patients on appropriate and cost-effective tests, medical procedures and treatments, and striving to keep fees fair and reasonable,” SMC said.
The SMC also reminded doctors to not subject a patient to unnecessary tests or procedures. It added that this could constitute as over-servicing and may be a breach of a doctor’s ethical obligations, even if the patient agreed to the test or procedure.
“In addition, while there is no prohibition against a day procedure being carried out as part of a hospitalisation stay, doctors must not recommend hospitalisation where there is no clinical justification to do so and for the primary purpose of charging higher fees. Such conduct may constitute over-servicing and/or over-charging.”
The SMC emphasised that doctors have a duty to provide ‘competent, compassionate and appropriate care to patients, based on a balance of evidence and accepted good clinical practice’.
The SMC added that it will take disciplinary action against doctors who breach the ethical code and bring disrepute to the profession.