Letters to the Editor
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Johns Hopkins Clinical Services Pte Ltd
The SMA President, on behalf of the SMA Council wrote to Johns Hopkins to seek clarification on this issue. Johns Hopkins has since replied and both letters are published below.
Dear Mr Thompson
PUBLICITY OF JOHNS HOPKINS SINGAPORE CLINICAL SERVICES PTE LTD
The Ethics Committee of the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) has received several requests to look into the publicity materials issued by Johns Hopkins Singapore Clinical Services Pte Ltd (JHSCS) from the standpoint of professionalism. We are informed that not only medical practitioners are in receipt of the brochure but patients too.
The Committee has studied the brochure on Clinical Services (Annex A) and we would like to draw your attention to the following in the brochure:
May we draw your attention to the Code of Ethics issued by Singapore Medical Council (1995 edition) to which all medical practitioners abide. The relevant paragraphs, Paragraph 59 on information about specialist services and Paragraph 60 on Information about organisations offering medical services are given below:
59. Specialists may keep their fellow practitioners informed of the services they offer and their practice arrangements. Materials circulated in this way should not disparage, expressly or by implication, the services provided by other practitioners, or claim superiority for the specialist’s personal qualities, qualifications, experiences or skills. … Information about individual specialists should not otherwise be made directly to the public.
60. Medical services are offered to the public not only by individual practitioners but by a wide variety of organisations such as hospitals and medical clinics as defined under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act. Some of them do advertise their services to the public and the principles set out in this Code concerning advertising of general practitioner services, apply also to such advertising. In addition, the advertisements should not include the names of practitioners … There should not be any claim of superiority for the professional services offered by or for any practitioners connected with the organisation.
We view the statements in your brochure to be professionally offensive and culturally insensitive. We look forward to your organisation adopting a correct professional decorum whilst practising amongst fellow health care providers in Singapore.
Cc: President, Singapore