S R ESayampanathan

Master (2016-2020)
Academy of Medicine, Singapore



28 February 2019

Dear Fellow Academicians

Over the past months, the Academy together with the College of Family Physicians Singapore (CFPS), have been in discussion with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) in developing a framework to support SMC process its complaints and disciplinary cases in a timelier manner.  The Academy has been involved in providing professional opinions on various medical and healthcare-related matters to Ministry of Health, Singapore (MOH) since 2007.  The Academy also receives and coordinates requests for independent expert opinions from the Singapore Polic Force for Coroner cases since 2004.

The SMC-AMS-CFPS General and Expert Opinion Framework was finally accepted and endorsed by the Academy Council in January 2019.  With the new framework in place, the SMC Complaints Committee (“CC”), when needed, has the option to request the Academy for opinion or report by expert(s) in the relevant field to aid the CC in its investigations before reaching a decision.  If the disciplinary inquiry is contested, the same expert may be required to attend the inquiry and give the evidence on behalf of the SMC.  We hope the new framework will help enhance SMC's CC and DT processes.


Currently, several other authorities and regulatory bodies are also in discussion with the Academy to provide expert opinion.  Therefore, the Academy and our Fellow Academicians can expect to play an increasingly larger role in setting and upholding standards of medical practice, professionalism and ethics.  In view of the expanding role expected of the Academy and our Fellow Academicians, I would like to encourage more doctors to attend the Medical Expert Witness Training (MEWT) Course, which is organised by the Academy along with 3 other medical and legal professional bodies, to train more doctors to acquire the knowledge and skills on writing medical expert reports.



In the recent Hydrocortisone and Lignocaine injection case which resulted in a high fine for the doctor, the Academy Council studied the judgement and had several dialogues with the authorities rendering perspectives on its grave implications and repercussions on the practice of medicine.


On behalf of AMS Council and Colleges and Chapters, I have issued the Academy's statement (dated 21 February) to all Fellows expressing our appreciation to MOH and SMC for applying for a review by the Judiciary.  As always, the Academy stands ready to assist or contribute in advocating for the profession.


Further to this, the Academy together with SMA and CFPS will actively engage and contribute towards improving the environment for the practice of medicine in Singapore.  Defensive medicine can be counter-productive and expensive.  We have met members of MOH Senior Management, and have committed efforts to create a better setting for doctors to practise.  This is yet another initiative which may not be so visible, but we will keep Fellows updated over time.


In these settings, we urge and look forward to having more specialists join as Fellow Academicians, strengthening the Academy and Fellow Academicians contribution to our national healthcare agenda and advocacy for our profession, professional development and patient care.


I would also like to remind all to submit your nomination for the Academy’s Elected Councillors for the term 2019-2021.  I urge our Fellow Academicians to come forward to serve the specialists community and to uphold the profession.  The closing deadline is 7 March 2019, 5:00 PM.  I look forward to receiving your nominations.



Best Wishes

Dr S R E Sayampanathan
Academy of Medicine, Singapore

Email: master@ams.edu.sg







Dinner & Dialogue with Senior Minister of State (Health), Mr Edwin Tong (29 January)


The Academy continued its active engagement with the Ministry with a Dinner and Dialogue session with Mr Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State for Health, on 29 January at the Academy's premise.




Dr SMS Tong was kept apprised of the recent developments and initiatives of the Academy.  Among the topics that were discussed at length were the issue of medical manpower crunch in public hospitals.  To address the gap which was formed at the middle rank level, the Council shared with SMS Tong that the Academy offers a 3-year Staff Registrar Scheme Diploma (SRS) for doctors to be trained to perform tasks at the middle rank, but will not become specialists:


In addition, the Academy also launched the Diploma in Hospital Medicine in January this year.  This is an initiative by the Academy which has been developed in line with the national policy of reducing healthcare costs and reducing the number of layers in our Inpatient Care model.  It will train a group of doctors to be highly competent in caring for patients with severe morbidity as well as to be better able to treat patients with multiple co-morbidities.  It is also in line with training doctors with generalist capabilities, so that they can handle a wide range of clinical problems.


The issue of medical IT systems was another agenda discussed at the Dialogue.  Also in attendance at the Dialogue was Dr Goh Khean Teik, Director, Manpower Standards and Development Division, MOH.




College of Public Health and Occupational Physicians Inaugural Hong Kong Study Trip (17-19 January)


The College of Public Health and Occupational Physicians organised its inaugural study trip to Hong Kong on 17 to 19 January 2019 with participation from 21 members of the College.


The trip was made possible with the hospitality and support of the Hong Kong counterparts – the Hong Kong College of Community Medicine, and session hosts: Hong Kong Hospital Authority, Hong Kong Department of Health, and Hong Kong Labour Department.  The sessions included:




In addition, they also paid a visit to the St James Settlement, one of the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that provides the subsidised community care services such as Day Care Services and Home Care Services.


"The study trip to Hong Kong was very educational and well received by our Fellows.  A very big thanks to the Hong Kong College of Community Medicine for their great hospitality," said Dr Vernon Lee, President, College of Public Health and Occupational Physicians.


The delegates participated actively during the sessions, and it was indeed a time of community bonding amongst the Fellows, and strengthening of professional ties with the Hong Kong counterparts.




AMS Chinese New Year Celebration (12 February)

The Academy ushered in the Lunar New Year with its annual traditional festivity of lion dance, Lo Hei Yu Sheng and dinner at its office premise on the evening of 12 February.



In his address to the auspicious tossing of the Lo Hei Yu Sheng, Dr Selan Sayampanathan said: "Over the past week, I have joined in many of the Chinese New Year festivities including some reunion dinners.  Reunion dinners signify togetherness, close cooperation and collaboration.  As we Lo Hei, we toss higher in the hopes of scaling greater heights and gaining stronger outomes.  I am optimistic our efforts and achievements will result in prosperity in the Year of the Pig."




The festive occasion also serve as a wonderful platform for Fellows from different specialties to gather, network and socialise.


- End of Report -





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