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Things You Should Know Before Making A Complaint To SMC
Is Singapore Medical Council ('SMC') the right place for you to lodge your complaint?

1. Under Section 39(1) of the Medical Registration Act, the SMC only looks into issues related to:

  • complaint touching on the conduct of a registered medical practitioner in his professional capacity or on his improper act or conduct which brings disrepute to his profession;
  • information on the conviction of a registered medical practitioner of any offence implying a defect in character which makes him unfit to practise as a medical practitioner;
  • complaint that the professional services provided by a registered medical practitioner are not of the quality which is reasonable to expect of him; or
  • information touching on the physical or mental fitness to practise of a registered medical practitioner

2. Please note that your complaint should relate to those stated above and must have a cause of action.  The list of causes of action are non-exhaustive and may include:

  • Professional misconduct;
  • Complaints relating to issues of medical ethics and standards; and
  • Complaints relating to the physical or mental fitness of the medical practitioner to practise.

What the SMC cannot do

Please note that the SMC does not have the legal jurisdiction to:

  • Help you to write your complaint;
  • Order a medical practitioner to provide the medical treatment you want;
  • Help you with a claim for compensation;
  • Order a medical practitioner to give you access to your records; or
  • Make a medical practitioner apologise to you in any manner.

How does the SMC handle a complaint?

1. Complaints against medical practitioners are dealt with under Part VII of the Medical Registration Act.  Upon receiving your statutory complaint, the Complaints Panel will appoint a Complaints Committee under Section 40 of the Medical Registration Act to look into the complaint.

2. Each complaint is assessed on a case-by-case basis.  Investigations by the Complaints Committee will take at least 6 to 9 months, or longer, depending on the complexity of the complaint. The Complaints Committee will inform you in writing of the outcome of their investigations as soon as a decision has been reached.

3. It is the prerogative of the Complaints Committee to decide whether a complaint should be heard in person and no complainant has the right to be present during the investigation. The Complaints Committee cannot divulge any form of confidential information at any point during the investigation.

What can you expect from the complaint?

The Complaints Committee will conduct a preliminary investigation into the complaint.  Some of the options available to the Complaints Committee are:

  • Order that the complaint be dismissed;
  • Order that the medical practitioner be issued with a letter of advice;
  • Order that the medical practitioner be issued with a letter of warning;
  • Order that the medical practitioner undergo medical or psychiatric treatment or counselling;
  • Order that the medical practitioner undertake and complete specified further education or training within a specified period;
  • Order that the medical practitioner report on the status of his medical practice at such times, in such manner and to such persons as may be specified by the Complaints Committee; or
  • Order that the medical practitioner seek and take advice, in relation to the management of his medical practice, from such persons as may be specified by the Complaints Committee.

What can you do if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint?

1. If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Complaints Committee, you may wish to make an appeal under Section 49(11) of the Medical Registration Act to the Minister for Health within 30 days of the outcome of your complaint.  The address is as follows:

Minister for Health

Ministry of Health
16 College Road
College of Medicine Building
Singapore 169654

2. The decision of Minister for Health on your appeal shall be final and conclusive. 

3. You may wish to seek independent legal advice on your complaint as well.

Last Updated :  18 Oct 2011 10:17