Council rules allow for disciplinary action
THE Medical Council is responding to the comments made by Dr Michael Rogers, Chairman of the Medical Legal Society (South China Morning Post, June 29) concerning adulterous relationships between doctors and patients.
The council does not share Dr Roger's view that the Medical Council has no real right to interfere in cases involving adulterous relationships between a doctor and a patient.
It is clearly stipulated at section 7.1 of the council's Professional Code and Conduct for the guidance of registered medical practitioners that where a medical practitioner abuses his professional position in order to further an improper, immoral, or indecent association or to commit adultery with a person with whom he stands in a professional relationship such conduct may lead to disciplinary action. The Professional Code and Conduct has been issued to every individual doctor when they first registered with the council.
Should a complaint touching on a matter of professional misconduct reach the council, the Secretary is obliged, under the provisions of the Medical Registration Ordinance and the Medical Practitioners (Registration and Disciplinary Procedure) Regulations, Cap. 161, Laws of Hong Kong, to refer the complaint for consideration by the Chairman of the Preliminary Investigation Committee.
Having regard to the substance of the complaint, the chairman may decide the complaint should be formally considered at a meeting of the committee.
The question of whether the conduct alleged in the complaint amounts to professional misconduct, and the gravity of such misconduct, are matters which will be determined by the Preliminary Investigation Committee and, as appropriate, by the council after considering the evidence in the particular case.
The council has always taken a serious view of the abuse of a doctor's professional position in the pursuit of an adulterous relationship with his patient.
The council considers that when offering treatment to patients, doctors are placed in a special position.
Any abuses by a medical practitioner of such privileges and opportunities afforded to him in order to facilitate development of an adulterous relationship with a patient are likely to give rise to a charge of professional misconduct.
TSE MAN-SHING Secretary Medical Council of Hong Kong