In September of 2016, reported that a general practitioner was fined $15,000 for filling prescriptions that weren’t appropriate for his patients. The GP was also suspended for four months because of his actions. According to the Singapore Medical Council, the doctor failed to exercise “due care in the management and treatment of his patients.”

Prescribing Sleeping Pills as a Cure-All

The doctor was charged with 47 different counts of professional misconduct, in a case that involved a total of 78 patients. The Singapore Medical Council’s Disciplinary Tribunal handled the proceedings, sharply rebuking the doctor for his failure to refer mentally distressed patients to a specialist or a psychiatrist in Singapore. Instead, the doctor prescribed hypnotic medications, also called sleeping pills.

Covering the Underlying Problem

At first glance, it may seem that the doctor was simply attempting to aid his patients and provide them with medication that would help them rest. However, in these 78 different cases, the root of the problem was not dealt with correctly. Instead of referring each patient to a specialist or psychologist in Singapore, the doctor covered up the underlying issue with the sleeping medication. He was not resolving his patients’ complaints, but disguising them.

Overlooking Cases of Dependence and Abuse

In some of the cases, the doctor kept writing prescriptions for the sleeping pills, even when there was evidence of the patients developing a dependence or addiction to the medication. A trustworthy psychiatrist in Singapore would have been alert to such dependence or abuse and would have found an alternative treatment.

Facing the Consequences

The accused doctor expressed remorse for his actions and did everything asked of him during the course of the investigation. Thanks to good testimonials from his patients and a history of kindness and assistance to the poor, the doctor’s sentence became lighter than it could have been otherwise.

However, the public censure, 4-month suspension, and hefty fine ordered by the Singapore Medical Council still serves as a strong warning to other medical practitioners in Singapore. The doctor was also forced to pay all the expenses and costs of the tribunal proceedings, as well as the lawyers’ fees. He was required to submit a written document vowing never again to engage in similarly questionable conduct.

Cooperating with Psychiatrists in Singapore

If you are struggling with anxiety, insomnia, stress, depression, and other symptoms that are leaving you sad and exhausted, ask your doctor to refer to a mental health professional or you could also contact Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic directly. A Singapore psychiatrist on our staff can work with your doctor to discover the true root cause of your distress and weariness. All our patients are treated with the utmost care and respect, and each case is kept confidential. With effective cooperation between your physician and our mental health experts, we’ll get to the heart of the issue and find a resolution to restore your health.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Straits Times, August 28, 2016