Most doctors against mandatory system
Your editorial of August 2 headlined 'Physician, heal thyself' has missed the point about continuing medical education (CME) for GPs.
I was the first to organise CME for specialists' societies in the form of annual scientific meetings, yet I am strongly opposed to the notion of linking CME to renewal of the practising certificate. Doctors are, almost without exception, enthusiastic about updating their knowledge. This was shown to be the case in a recent survey conducted by the Hong Kong Medical Association.
The majority are, however, opposed to linking CME to the practising certificate renewal process. Will attending a few lectures really enhance a doctor's skills? A doctor is judged by his ethical values, his compassion for the sick, and the experience he has painstakingly accumulated through years of practice. No CME can ever replace these qualities.
If doctors are allowed to practise only after they have fulfilled CME criteria laid down by a few of their privileged colleagues, will this policy be extended to other professions, such as barristers and journalists?
It is unfair of you to suggest that doctors can find the time for golf while objecting to allocating time for CME.
The Medical Association has a counter-proposal to mandatory CME. Those doctors who have completed their CME should be suitably certified on their annual practising certificates. Then it will be up to the patient to decide for himself which physician he wants to see - one who has completed the CME, or one who has not.
Dr M. K. CHAN
The Hong Kong Medical Association