It is clear that in today's highly complex medical landscape, better guidelines and regulations are required ("Health-care costs can't keep rising" by Dr Tang Kok Foo; Tuesday).
But who should draw up and administer these? I would argue that doctors are capable of self-regulation, both in drawing up guidelines as well as implementing them fairly.
First, doctors clearly care about the reputation of their profession, as shown in the heated discussion of the issue in the Forum pages.
The majority of doctors are proud to be trusted by their patients and know they will lose their efficacy if they lose this trust.
Second, only those in the profession have intimate insights into health-care delivery and its complicated ramifications, given new technology and rising patient expectations.
While non-medical input would help, depriving the profession of the final say would be disastrous in the long term.
If guidelines or rules were imposed by external parties, doctors would not have the sense of responsibility to improve their professional practices and control costs. In fact, they could find ways to circumvent the guidelines.
The problems raised on medical costs came about largely because the medical profession had insufficient say in the matter.
I, therefore, recommend that we take a good look at this thorny problem and that health practitioners, together with representatives from the Government and private sector, be extensively consulted.
Let us not allow a few black sheep to tar the entire profession.
Geh Min (Dr)
This article was first published on Aug 22, 2014.
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