Being kind in heart and perfect in medical skills
Passing the torch to many generations
The world's best and brightest are now being showcased in Expo 2010 China. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), regarded as medical practices emphasising both skills and compassion, has shined brilliantly through thousands of years all over our country. Here in Hong Kong, it has also glowed brightly over the past hundred years. Practising medicine with a benevolent heart requires both excellent medical skills and noble virtues, and is a manifestation of the sheer professionalism of Chinese medicine practitioners (CMPs). So extensive and profound in nature, TCM is not only an integration of Yellow Emperor's philosophy, theories of Chinese herbal medicine and clinical experiences, but also a perfect blend of traditional Chinese culture and philosophy and practices in healthcare and therapies. What an apt description for an official in the Department of Health to call TCM a branch of arts!
"Being kind in heart and perfect in medical skills" is not a reputation that can be earned overnight, but the result of a long period of medical training and clinical experiences. A CMP who is acclaimed as both competent and compassionate should undergo a professional training in TCM for five to six years before practising Chinese medicine and healing patients for dozens of years. It is widely recognised that TCM is a treasure of Chinese culture and it largely contributes to the health of Chinese people, including the general public in Hong Kong. TCM works by regulating body functions, meridians and collaterals, blood and the vital energy and by harmonising the internal organs and vital essence in order to maintain health and harmony in human bodies. A treasure as it is, TCM should never be lost to the world. We should strive to preserve it for the benefit of the people of Hong Kong and the whole mankind as well, and to pass the torch to many generations to come.
In this issue of the Newsletter, I would like to thank once again all CMPs, CMP organisations, TCM institutions in universities (including the School of Chinese Medicine) and fellow members of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board and committees under the Board for their staunch support for the work of the Board. The regulatory work of the Board, be it matters relating to registration, ethics, examination, discipline and conduct and assessment of courses, all serves to enhance the professional status of CMPs and to ensure the health of the people of Hong Kong.
Let us cherish the title of CMP which represents our professional status. Let us recognise the professional values of TCM, embrace good medical virtues and sincerely inherit the great treasure of TCM. Let us also spread Chinese culture and its artistic TCM far and wide.
Mr. Wong Ngar-kok James
Chairman of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board
At the end of June 2010, there were 6,044 registered Chinese medicine practitioners (CMPs), 69 CMPs with limited registration, and 2,779 listed CMPs.
The Paper 1 and Paper 2 of Part I Written Examination of the 2010 Chinese Medicine Practitioners Licensing Examination were conducted on 15 June (Tuesday) and 17 June (Thursday) respectively. The Clinical Examination (Part II) will be conducted from 3 August (Tuesday) to mid-August. A total of 408 candidates sat for the Written Examination, of which, 7 candidates were absent from the examination and 283 candidates (69.4% of candidates) passed the examination.
The Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (the Practitioners Board) will publish the "Candidates' Handbook for the 2011 CMPs Licensing Examination" and disseminate the details in due course. Please watch out for the announcements in the Newsletter of the Practitioners Board and the Chinese Medicine Council's homepage.
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 Practitioners Board. From April to June 2010, 44 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.
The Practitioners Board held the disciplinary inquiries for five registered CMPs and three listed CMPs who were convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment or breached the codes of practice from April to July 2010.
After the disciplinary inquiries, the Practitioners Board ordered that the name of a registered CMP who has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment be removed from the Register for 6 months, but suspended the applications for 24 months, and a warning letter was issued to him. The Practitioners Board ordered that the names of four registered CMPs who have breached the codes of practice be removed from one month to six months, but suspend the applications for 12 to 24 months, and two of these four registered CMPs also be warned. The Practitioners Board also decided to put the decision for three listed CMPs on record for future reference after the inquiry.
Summing up the above cases, the Practitioners Board reminds all CMPs to take note of the issues below.
In the judgment of one of the above-mentioned disciplinary inquiries, the Practitioners Board was of the view that, according to the professional standard of Chinese medicine practitioners in Hong Kong, weighing Chinese herbal medicines in a CMP's hand to ascertain the dosage is considered not acceptable. The way of measuring the dosage of Chinese herbal medicines which depends merely on experience and the sensation of one's hand could not be accepted by the public and CMPs in Hong Kong. The measuring apparatus of Chinese herbal medicines is relatively low in price; and offers objective measurements. A CMP could have no reasonable reason not to use an objective and accurate apparatus in his professional practice. The Practitioners Board was of the view that such behaviour fell below the professional standard of CMPs in Hong Kong. The Practitioners Board reiterates that CMPs shall provide treatment and dispense Chinese medicines to patients with regard to modern standards and in compliance with the codes of practice.
In another case, a CMP employed by a non-medical professional alleged during the disciplinary inquiry that he had no knowledge of the composition of the Chinese herbal powders dispensed to patents, nor the scientific testing method or the readings of the apparatus used in the course of treatment. The Practitioners Board was of the view that such behaviour had violated the standard expected by the profession with the possibility of putting patient's health at risk. The Practitioners Board reiterates that CMPs should be professionally responsible to patients, abide by the regulations stipulated in the relevant medical ordinances to best serve the medical interests of patients. They should master relevant knowledge and skills in order to perform their professional duties. When necessary, CMPs should make appropriate medical referrals.
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. 301 written views were collected during the consultation period. After some thorough discussions by the Practitioners Board and the Ethics Committee, the Practitioners Board formulated principles regarding academic title(s) and qualifications that could be exhibited to the public by CMPs.
Having considered the professional development of the profession, social recognition of CMPs' professional education and their professional image, the Practitioners Board decides that CMPs could only exhibit:
those undergraduate degree courses that are approved for taking Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Practitioners Licensing Examination (the Examination) and stated in the Candidates' Handbook, or its equivalent as is approved by the Practitioners Board; and all degree or postgraduate or above courses in Chinese medicine that are organized by all local or non-local universities;
any academic title(s) exhibited must be directly related to the practice of Chinese medicine; and
all academic titles and certificates must be obtained by completion of relevant courses and passing relevant assessments, not honorary degrees
Having considered the historical development of the CMP profession, the background of CMPs being trained, social recognition of the relevant qualifications and the professional image of CMPs, the Practitioners Board decides that the CMPs could only exhibit:
allowing those CMPs who gained their knowledge of Chinese medicine from their masters could exhibit "heir", "apprentice" and "direct disciple", as well as the names of their masters, but not any other information of their masters. The interpretation of "heir", "apprentice" and "direct disciple" is limited to direct passing of knowledge of Chinese medicine through traditional means by the masters. Such masters should not be teachers or professors who deliver courses of undergraduate degrees or above.
allowing CMPs to exhibit the qualification of "traditional Chinese medicine expert", which is strictly defined as the qualification that is evidenced by certificates presented by authorities of national level, provincial level or municipality level of the People's Republic of China. Other qualifications of "traditional Chinese medicine expert", such as those awarded by organizations in the community, are not allowed to be exhibited.
The Practitioners Board is in the opinion that no other academic titles or qualifications should be exhibited to the public except those listed above. Any other academic titles or qualifications possessed by a CMP could be exhibited within his/her clinic of practice/ private premises, subject to the condition that such information exhibited must be true, accurate and not misleading. If any complaint or disciplinary procedure is lodged against a CMP, the CMP involved bears the burden to prove the truthfulness and accuracy of the relevant academic titles and qualifications exhibited.
The Practitioners Board also reminds all CMPs that the above decisions are only general principles for CMPs' advance information, all details are still under the Practitioners Board's discussion. All CMPs shall conform to the present professional codes of practice until the promulgation of the amended codes of practice.
According to the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (the Ordinance), "proprietary Chinese medicine" means any proprietary product -
composed solely of the following as active ingredients -
formulated in a finished dose form; and
known or claimed to be used for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention or alleviation of any disease or any symptom of a disease in human beings, or for the regulation of the functional states of the human body.
At present, the following major provisions of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (the Ordinance) are yet to be commenced -
Section 119 - No person shall sell; or import; or possess any proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) unless the pCm is registered under section 121 ;
Section 143 - No person shall sell; or have in his possession for the purpose of selling, any pCm unless the package of the pCm is labelled in the prescribed manner ; and
Section 144 - No person shall sell; or have in his possession for the purpose of selling, any pCm without a package insert which complies with the prescribed requirements.
In view of the Chinese Medicines Board has completed the assessment of all the applications for transitional registration, the Government propose to put into full implementation the relevant provisions under the Ordinance, which would be phased on 1 December 2010 and 1 December 2011 as follows -
1 December 2010 - commencement of section 119 and the sale, import or possession of unregistered pCm in Hong Kong will be an offence by then ; and
1 December 2011 - commencement of section 143 and section 144 to allow the trade to have adequate time to comply with the labelling and package insert requirements.
For details, please refer to the Legislative Council paper on "Commencement of Sections of Chinese Medicine Ordinance and Chinese Medicines Regulation related to Mandatory Registration of Proprietary Chinese Medicines" (Legislative Council paper CB(2)1995/09-10(02) ) at website: http://www.legco.gov.hk or the website of the Chinese Medicine Council.
To facilitate practice of CMPs, the Ordinance and the Chinese Medicines Regulation (the Regulation) provided exemptions as follows -
Section 158(6) of the Ordinance stipulated that nothing in section 119 shall apply in respect of a pCm which is compounded by or under the supervision of a registered CMP, a listed CMP or a person who continues to practise Chinese medicine by virtue of section 90(7) at the premises where he practises if, and only if, such pCm is being used for the purpose of administering or supplying to a patient under his direct care.
Section 36 of the Regulation stipulated that sections 143 and 144 of the Ordinance shall not apply in respect of a pCm which is compounded by or under the supervision of a registered or listed CMP at the premises where he practises if, and only if, such pCm is being used for the purpose of administering or supplying to a patient under his direct care.
Section 37 of the Regulation stipulated that pCm manufactured by a licensed manufacturer in accordance with prescriptions given by CMPs and to be administered or supplied to their patients is exempted from registration and with a package insert which complies with the prescribed requirements. However, the licensed manufacturer shall ensure that a label on a package of a pCm to be sold or distributed to the CMP in accordance with the requirements of section 26(4) of the Regulation.
When a CMP entrusts a licensed manufacturer to manufacture a pCm, he should provide a written undertaking to the manufacturer concerned in accordance with section 37 of the Regulation, stating that the medicine will only be administered or supplied to (in the case where the medicine is for internal application or both internal and external application) the patient to whom the prescription is given and who is under his direct care; or (in the case where the medicine is for external application only) a patient or patients under his direct care. The manufacturer concerned should submit a written notification accompanying with the written undertaking to the Chinese Medicines Board, at least one working day before the day on which the manufacturing process of the medicine begins. Besides, the CMP should be mindful whether the pCm is manufactured in compliance with the relevant legislative requirements.
For details of the above legislation, please refer to the Bilingual Laws Information System of Department of Justice at http://www.legislation.gov.hk.
Notwithstanding the above-mentioned exemptions, in carrying out professional responsibilities, CMPs are required to conform to professional standards, maintain good conduct and be professionally responsible for patients, which includes making prescriptions and prescribing medicines which conform with professional standards, and ensuring the safety and quality of the Chinese medicines dispensed to patients.
As such, the Practitioners Board remind all CMPs that 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.
The Practitioners Board has sent registered letters to some CMPs, but the letters remain 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 to invite them to give any written representations to the Practitioners Board.
The Practitioners Board appeals to the following CMPs contact the Secretariat as soon as possible. If other CMPs have contact with them, please notify them of the above.
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.
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
Fax Number: (852) 2121 1898
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