2 Mar 2019


On March 2, 2019, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the formation of a Workgroup to study and make the appropriate recommendations on the taking of informed consent by doctors and the Singapore Medical Council’s (SMC) disciplinary process.

This statement is jointly issued by the Academy of Medicine Singapore (AMS), the College of Family Physicians Singapore (CFPS), and the Singapore Medical Association (SMA), which collectively represent almost all the doctors in Singapore:


The Academy of Medicine Singapore (AMS), the College of Family Physicians Singapore (CFPS), and the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) are pleased to note that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has sought participation from us on the Workgroup through our representatives in the Workgroup.


We support MOH’s decision to form this Workgroup made up of a diverse group of medical and legal professionals and lay persons to review the SMC disciplinary process and undertake a comprehensive review on the taking of informed consent in order to prevent the practice of defensive medicine. We had been briefed by MOH prior to its announcement and extend our full cooperation to MOH in this exercise. The formation of the Workgroup is a positive step to ensure that the environment is conducive for the practice of good medicine and to ensure the safety of patients. The environment to practise medicine is constantly evolving. Therefore we must be ahead of the times, by being bolder and better.


The mission of this Workgroup in establishing a framework to offer further guidance is to eliminate ambiguity in the consent taking standards so that the resultant practical difficulties facing doctors over consent taking for medical procedures may be resolved. In the course of daily clinical practice, doctors perform many necessary bedside procedures, such as venepunctures for blood taking and administering intravenous drugs, and suturing of wounds. Defensive medicine is counter-productive and can be very expensive.


The study of the disciplinary process with the view to recommend changes to it is timely and necessary for us to keep up with the relevant norms of medical practice.



Dr Selan Sayampanathan


Academy of Medicine, Singapore



Dr Tan Tze Lee


College of Family Physicians Singapore



Dr Lee Yik Voon


Singapore Medical Association



Jointly issued on 2 March 2019.