THE EDITOR: The Medical Board has stated by e-mail that the Medical Council has approved the Specialist Register as of October 31. This was not approved by the Medical Board as required by Section 20.1 of the Medical Board Act:
The council, subject to the approval of the board, has the power to make such rules and regulations as it deems necessary for the purposes and provisions of the Act and, without restricting the generality thereof, for all and any of the following purposes:
(j) for establishing standards for continuous education and training of medical practitioners; and
(k) for determining whether a person is a specialist for the purposes of this Act.
This Specialist Register was a requirement via legislation in 2007. It is to prevent doctors from advertising themselves as specialists when they possess no specialist qualifications.
But Pathway C will allow a doctor with no specialist qualifications to be registered as a specialist because the doctor was a self-proclaimed specialist for the last ten years. What therefore is the purpose of the Specialist Register?
The following is also noted as specialist qualifications:
* MRCPsych is the completion of the core section and is required before going on to the next two levels — intermediate and advanced.
* MRCPCh is the completion of level one and is required before going on to levels two and three.
* A Master’s in Public Health is not a specialist qualification but is considered as a higher qualification. Generally, no Master’s degree in other specialties is recognised as a specialist qualification.
The “policy guidelines for eligibility to the medical Specialist Register” is thus flawed as it allows people who do not possess specialist qualifications to be registered on the register.
Since this is not approved by the Medical Board, it is subject to legal wrangling.
Further, who is going to guarantee the further years of service required for certification? All doctors have to work in their field of post-graduate studies to gain their specialist qualification and are certified as competent for the final examinations. Why add these further years of service when there are problems presently for jobs at the senior level? Will the Government be giving this guarantee?
The public is hereby forewarned that the specialist doctor may not have a specialist qualification.
PHILIP AYOUNG-CHEE via e-mail