Doctor fined and suspended for lax prescription of sleeping pills

PHOTO: Doctor fined and suspended for lax prescription of sleeping pills

SINGAPORE - A general practitioner has been fined and suspended for inappropriately prescribing hypnotics.

According to a media release by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC), the proceedings arose from a complaint by the Ministry of Health to the council.

Dr Boon Seng Poh, 46, practised at the BSP Clinic located at 10 Ubi Crescent at the time of the complaint.

Dr Boon pleaded guilty to 15 charges of professional misconduct for failure to provide appropriate care, management and treatment to his patients through inappropriate prescription of hypnotics. 

In addition, three charges of a similar nature were taken into consideration by the disciplinary tribunal for the purposes of sentencing.

In addition to the inappropriate prescription of hypnotics in breach of the SMC’s Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines, the particulars of the charges included the failure to maintain sufficient details in patients’ medical records and the failure to treat his patients in consultation with a medical specialist or failing to refer his patients to a medical specialist and/or a psychiatrist for further and/or joint management.

In arriving at its decision, the disciplinary tribunal took into account mitigating factors such as Dr Boon’s remorsefulness and early plea of guilt; his efforts to taper his patients off hypnotics; his contributions to the society and the medical profession; and good testimonials from his patients.

Dr Boon is to be suspended from medical practice for a period of three months, ordered to pay a penalty of S$5,000, be censured and required to give a written undertaking to the SMC that he will not engage in the conduct complained of or any similar conduct.

He will also have to pay for the costs involved in the proceedings.

Dr Boon's suspension took effect from April 26 and will run till July 25, 2014.