Medical practitioners must never cease learning
Ancient codes and records must be studied ceaselessly
Nowadays, it is stipulated in section 82(2) of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance that registered Chinese medicine practitioners must pursue "continuing education". In the past five years, the Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine (CME) has shown remarkable achievements since its implementation on 28 February 2005. What is uplifting is that a CMP aged 100 completed 60 credit points in a modest and studious manner and had his practising certificate renewed. In recent years, there is a strong academic atmosphere among the CMPs in Hong Kong, which has rapidly upgraded the professional competence and the standards of practice, as well as significantly enhanced the professional image and progressively promoted the professional status of the CMPs.
First of all, eleven "CME Administrators" and twenty-nine "CME Programme Providers" are appreciated for the assiduous effort made to support the operation of the system of CME and witness the effectiveness of "continuing education". Gratitude is tendered to the members of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board and its five committees for their dedicated effort, enabling a smooth progress of the professionalization of CMPs. Moreover, the dozens of examiners of the CMPs Licensing Examination are also thanked for the time and effort they have contributed in the past seven years.
In the new year, we will continue to enforce the Chinese Medicine Ordinance, ceaselessly study medical codes and records and get familiar with the classical literature of Chinese medicine so as to further carry forward traditional Chinese medicine by applying the scientific development concept.
Mr. Wong Ngar-kok James
Chairman of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board
At the end of March 2010, there were 6,044 registered Chinese medicine practitioners (CMPs), 71 CMPs with limited registration, and 2,779 listed CMPs.
The application for sitting the 2010 CMPs Licensing Examination for non-listed CMPs was closed in late October 2009. Regarding the application for listed CMPs and repeaters, it was closed on 31 March 2010.
The Paper 1 and Paper 2 of the Written Examination of the 2010 CMPs licensing examination will be conducted on 15 June and 17 June 2010 respectively. In the event of bad weather, the examination will be postponed to 19 June 2010. The clinical examination is scheduled to be held between 3 August and mid-August 2010.
Candidates should have received the admission form and the "Guidelines for Candidates" one week prior to the examination. They may contact the Secretariat of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (the Council) if they do not receive the above-mentioned documents on time.
In accordance with section 76 of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance, a registered CMP must apply for a valid practising certificate before he/she is allowed to practise Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. The usual validity period of a practising certificate is three years. Before a registered CMP is issued with the renewed practising certificate, he/she must fulfill the requirements of continuing education in Chinese medicine, as determined by the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (the Practitioners Board).
There were 2,481 registered CMPs whose practising certificates expired in 2009. Among them, 2,302 registered CMPs renewed their practising certificates by the end of 2009. A small number of registered CMPs stated that they would not apply for renewing their practising certificates due to retirement or other considerations. From January to March 2010, 96 registered CMPs renewed their practising certificates.
In accordance with the Chinese Medicine Ordinance, if a registered CMP practises Chinese medicine without obtaining a practising certificate over a period exceeding 6 months since the expiry of his/her practising certificate, the Practitioners Board may act in accordance with section 56(1)(d) of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance, to order the removal from the Register the name of that registered CMP.
Registered CMPs are medical professionals with legal status. Issuance of sick leave certificates by registered CMPs is recognised under the Employment Ordinance, which was amended in the end of 2006. The Practitioners Board has compiled a reference guide on the issuance of sick leave certificates by registered CMPs, which includes diseases commonly encountered by CMPs in Hong Kong and the respective recommended number of days of sick leave, and acts as a general reference of the standards of conduct expected among their professional colleagues. CMPs should issue appropriate sick leave certificates on the basis of their personal professional judgment and the particular circumstances of individual patients. If any discrepancy between an issued sick leave certificate and the guide leads to a complaint against a registered CMP, the burden is on the registered CMP concerned to explain how he/she has exercised professional judgment in issuing the sick leave certificate and the relevant circumstances.
The Practitioners Board held the disciplinary inquiries for four registered CMPs and three listed CMPs who were convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment or breached the codes of practice from December 2009 to March 2010. Moreover, the Practitioners Board also conducted an inquiry on an application for registration.
After the disciplinary inquiries, the Practitioners Board ordered that the names of two of the registered CMPs who has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment and breached the codes of practice be removed from the Register for 3 months to 12 months, but suspended the applications for 12 months to 24 months. The Practitioners Board also ordered that one registered CMP has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment was reprimanded, and one registered CMP who breached the codes of practice be warned. The Practitioners Boards also decided to remove the name of one listed CMP from the list of listed CMP who has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment, and put the decision for two listed CMPs on record for future reference after the inquiry.
For the inquiry on an applicant with a record of previous conviction for an offence punishable with imprisonment, the registration application was approved by the Practitioners Board after inquiry.
The Practitioners Board reminds all CMPs again that, if a CMP has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment (irrespective of whether a prison term is imposed or not), he must report to the Practitioners Board immediately. He should quote the case number, date of conviction, venue, offence and minute of adjudication to the Practitioners Board. If the CMP fails to report to the Practitioners Board after being convicted of an offence, the Practitioners Board will take disciplinary action according to the established procedures.
The Practitioners Board issued consultation paper to all CMPs and Chinese medicine associations on 23 October this year regarding the above subject. The consultation period was lasted for 8 months until 23 December 2009. Around 300 views were collected during the consultation period. The Practitioners Board and the Ethics Committee are currently considering the views collected from the CMPs. The Practitioners Board will inform all CMPs the progress through this Newsletter.
To facilitate management of patients, the enacted Chinese Medicine Ordinance provides the following exemptions to CMPs for licensing application and the registration of proprietary Chinese medicines have -
According to sections 158(2) and (4), a CMP shall be exempted from applying to the Chinese Medicines Board for a retailer license in Chinese herbal medicines if the Chinese herbal medicines in question are dispensed to a patient under his direct care and on a prescription given by him and at the premises where he practices; and
According to section 158(6)(a), a CMP shall be exempted from applying to the Chinese Medicines Board for a manufacturer license in proprietary Chinese medicines if a proprietary Chinese medicine is compounded by or under the supervision of the CMP for a patient under his direct care at the premises where he practices. Moreover, the proprietary Chinese medicine in question shall be exempted from registration.
In carrying out professional responsibilities, CMPs are required to conform to professional standards, maintain good conduct and be professionally responsible for patients, which includes ensuring the safety and quality of the Chinese medicines dispensed to patients. As such, the Practitioners Board has suggested that appropriate management should be carried out on the proprietary Chinese medicines dispensed to patients by CMPs, as well as on the relevant personnel, premises, keeping of records, processing of herbal medicines, preparing of proprietary Chinese medicines and dispensing of Chinese medicines, etc. which are involved in the retail business of Chinese herbal medicines, and none of these should be neglected. For instance,
A CMP or a dispenser under his supervision should have knowledge of the processing, authentication and decoction of processed Chinese herbal medicines (including the toxic/potent Chinese herbal medicines listed in Schedule 1);
Capable of checking the authenticity and quality of the processed herbal medicines when inspection and acceptance is being carried out. Processed herbal medicine found to be counterfeit, of poor quality or not conforming to the stated specifications, such as those showing obvious irregularities, for example, contamination with mildew, infestation by insects, decolourisation, decomposition due to humidity or stickiness etc. or adulterated with impurities should not be accepted, neither should these Chinese herbal medicines be dispensed to patients, or used as raw materials for preparing or compounding Chinese medicine preparations for patients;
Store-room of Chinese herbal medicines should be kept cool, dry and well ventilated. Relevant facilities should be provided for the control of insects, rodents, mildew, humidity and contamination;
The area, apparatus and staff for preparing or compounding Chinese medicine preparations should meet the hygiene standards to ensure that the finished products are not contaminated in the preparing or compounding process. If there is any doubt about the quality of a finished product, laboratory test should be carried out to ensure that the product concerned is not contaminated.
To protect the health of the public, if Chinese herbal medicines have to be dispensed or preparations have to be prepared/compounded by a CMP (or by a personnel under his supervision) for patients under his care in carrying out professional responsibilities, he should comply with the standards of practice and ensure the quality and safety of the Chinese medicines. In addition, in treating high risk patients such as children, elders and patients with impaired immunity, extra caution must be taken and detailed medical advice or instruction be provided. Since these patients are more susceptible to infection, there should be strict requirements for the preparing or compounding of Chinese medicine preparation, including measures for the prevention of cross contamination and bacterial contamination. For instance, the equipment and the surroundings should be thoroughly cleansed; suitable containers should be used for packaging and sealing, etc. Moreover, medical advice should be given to these patients that their Chinese herbal medicines (including powder form) or the Chinese medicine preparations must be stored in a dry, cool and clean environment; overstock of medicines must be avoided; expired or contaminated medicines must not be taken, and the Chinese herbal medicines to be taken must be well-decocted, etc.
To promote the standards of practice of the Chinese medicines trade, the Chinese Medicines Board has prepared relevant trade guidelines1 to regulate all the aspects involved in operating the Chinese herbal medicines and proprietary Chinese medicines business. The Chinese Medicines Board advises CMPs to refer to the "Practising Guidelines for Retailers of Chinese Herbal Medicines" and "Practising Guidelines for Manufacturers of Proprietary Chinese Medicines" for compliance in their relevant business.
1 The relevant guidelines have been uploaded to the website of the Council (www.cmchk.org.hk). The "Practising Guidelines for Retailers of Chinese Herbal Medicines" has been attached to Issue No.10 of the "Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board" (1 September 2005) for the reference of CMPs.
In addition to the existing payment methods, CMPs can pay application fees for Licensing Examination (Written Examination & Clinical Examination), registration as registered CMP, and application/ renewal of practising certificates by Payment by Phone Service (PPS). If a CMP does not have a PPS account, he/she can bring his/her ATM card or credit card with ATM function to any nearby PPS registration terminals to open a PPS account. CMPs can call 18011 or go to ppshk.com to register their bills, and call 18031 or go to ppshk.com to pay the above application fees. The PPS merchant code of the Chinese Medicine Council is '9708'. For enquiry about account number, please refer to the application form or contact the Secretariat.
The Practitioners Board has lost contact with the following listed CMPs based on the information of their telephone numbers and addresses.
The Practitioners Board appeals to the following CMPs contact the Secretariat of the Council as soon as possible. If other CMPs have contact with them, please notify them of the above for our follow-up of their contact information.
The Practitioners Board has sent a registered letter to a registered CMP, but the letter remains unclaimed after 4 months of issue. According to section 56(2) of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance, the Practitioners Board may order removal from the Register the names of such registered CMPs in such circumstances. In accordance with section 57 of the Ordinance, the Practitioners Board shall serve a notice to the CMPs concerned stating its intention to remove their names from the Register under section 56(2) of the Ordinance and invite them to give any written representations to the Practitioners Board.
The Practitioners Board appeals to the following CMP contact the Secretariat as soon as possible. If other CMPs have contact with the following CMP, please notify her of the above.
All CMPs are requested to notify the Secretariat as soon as possible if there are changes in their registered address, correspondence address, practising address, telephone number, fax number and other personal data which have been previously reported to the Practitioners Board. Enclosed please find the form for notification of change of personal data. It may also be obtained from the Secretariat if needed.
Should you have any opinions regarding the contents of the Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board, please send them to the Secretariat by post, fax or email, indicating "Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board". All published Newsletters of Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board have been uploaded to the Council's homepage (http://www.cmchk.org.hk). CMPs are cordially invited to visit the above website.
Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong
Room 2201, 22/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East,
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Enquiry telephone: (852) 2121 1888
24-hour enquiry system: (852) 2574 9999
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