This issue of the Newsletter mainly reports the work of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (PB) in the past four months, including the holding of the 2013 Chinese Medicine Practitioners Licensing Examination, renewal of practising certificates of registered Chinese medicine practitioners (CMPs) and the system of Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine (CME) for CMPs, results of disciplinary inquiries and matters requiring the attention of CMPs.
Regarding the reduction of CME points required for registered CMPs aged 75 or above, the PB reminds all registered CMPs that such arrangement is applicable only to registered CMPs who have reached the age of 75 or above and their current CME cycles started after 29 November 2012. For relevant arrangements, please refer to the content of this Newsletter.
Concerning disciplinary inquiries, the PB reminds all CMPs to pay attention to the professional responsibility in issuing prescriptions, standards on prescribing medicines, proper keeping of medical records and the requirement of reporting court convictions to the PB. For details, please refer to the content of this Newsletter.
In addition, disciplinary inquiries have been held by the PB regarding two CMPs convicted by the court of indecent assault when patients were consulting them. All CMPs are reminded that in similar cases in the future, once a CMP is convicted by the court, the PB shall handle the case strictly in accordance with the disciplinary procedures specified under the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (CMO).
This issue of the Newsletter also includes updates on cases of "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome" and "Human Infection with Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus" which call for the attention of all CMPs.
I wish you good health and happiness.
Mr WONG Kit
Chairman of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board
Paper 1 and Paper 2 of Part I Written Examination of the 2013 Chinese Medicine Practitioners Licensing Examination were conducted on 11 June (Tuesday) and 13 June (Thursday) respectively. The Clinical Examination (Part II) was conducted from 1 August (Thursday) to mid-August. A total of 398 candidates sat for the Written Examination, 19 candidates were absent from the examination and 257 candidates (65% of candidates) passed the examination.
The PB will publish the Candidates' Handbook for the 2014 CMPs Licensing Examination and disseminate in September 2013 the details of taking the 2014 examination. Please take notice of the announcements on the homepage of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (CMCHK) (http://www.cmchk.org.hk).
At the end of July 2013, there were 6,557 registered CMPs, 72 CMPs with limited registration and 2,728 listed CMPs.
Pursuant to section 76 of the CMO, registered CMPs must apply for valid practising certificates before they are allowed to practise Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. The usual validity period of a practising certificate is three years. Registered CMPs should fulfill the CME requirements prescribed by the PB before they can have their practising certificates renewed.
From April to July 2013, 111 registered CMPs were allowed to renew their practising certificates. All registered CMPs who have their practising certificates renewed should report promptly to their CME Administrators their new CME cycles, required CME points and validity period of their practising certificates.
According to the Codes1, registered CMPs should hold valid practising certificates to practise Chinese medicine. Any cases of violation shall be handled strictly by the PB in accordance with disciplinary procedures. Moreover, the CMO also stipulates that if a registered CMP practises Chinese medicine without obtaining a valid practising certificate for a period exceeding six months since the expiry of his/her practising certificate, the PB may order the removal of his/her name from the Register in accordance with section 56(1)(d) of the CMO.
1The Codes refer to the Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Hong Kong and the Code of Conduct for Listed Chinese Medicine Practitioners.
New Arrangements on Acquiring CME Points by Publishing Works
Following the fourth review of the CME by the PB, the revised edition of the Handbook on System of Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners (the Handbook) were sent out to all registered CMPs in December 2012. The amendments have taken effect from 1 January 2013. According to the new amendments, registered CMPs who have published works jointly should have their CME points allocated equally so as to uphold the principle of fairness.
Since registered CMPs who have published their works jointly are no longer required to negotiate on the allocated proportion of CME points among themselves and sign a confirmation of the negotiation result, the PB has decided to abolish the requirement for all authors to sign on the Declaration Form for Self-Study/Published Work in Appendix IV of the Handbook. The revised form is attached to Appendix I of this issue of the Newsletter. All CME Administrators have also been informed of the relevant arrangements in writing.
Reduction of CME points Required for Registered CMPs Aged 75 or above
The PB endorsed last year the reduction of CME points required for registered CMPs aged 75 or above in each CME cycle from 60 to 30. In this connection, please take note that the effective date of this concessionary measure was 29 November 2012 and this arrangement is only applicable to the CME cycles which commence after a registered CMP has reached the age of 75. In other words, if a registered CMP has reached the age of 75 but his/her current CME cycle shall finish on or before 27 November 2015, he/she is still required to acquire not less than 60 CME points according to the requirements of the PB in order to have his/her practising certificate renewed. The concessionary arrangement shall be applicable to his/her next CME cycle.
Furthermore, if a registered CMP fails to acquire the required CME points in his/her previous cycle, he/she is required to make up the unearned points so as to have his/her practising certificate renewed.
The PB held disciplinary inquiries from April to July 2013 on two registered CMPs and two listed CMPs who were alleged breaching the Codes and/or convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment. The CMPs concerned were found guilty after the inquiries. The PB ordered to remove the name of a registered CMP for six months with a suspension of 24 months and to issue a warning; the name of another registered CMP was ordered to be removed for one month with a suspension of 12 months; and the names of the two listed CMPs who had committed the offence of indecent assault were removed.
Summing up the above cases, the PB reminds all CMPs to take note of the following issues.
Reporting Court Convictions to the PB
According to the Codes, if a CMP has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment in Hong Kong or elsewhere (irrespective of whether a prison term is imposed or not), he/she must report to the PB immediately, specifying the case number, date of conviction, venue, offence and sentence to the PB. If the CMP concerned fails to do so, the PB will take disciplinary actions in accordance with the Codes.
Professional Conduct of CMPs
Regarding CMPs convicted by the court of indecent assault when patients were consulting them, the PB has, following disciplinary inquiries, removed the names of the CMPs concerned. The PB reminds all CMPs that, while the Codes do not require the presence of an assistant when a CMP is conducting a physical examination on his/her patient, to safeguard the interests of both the CMP and the patient, the CMP should arrange the presence of an assistant/a nursing staff as far as possible when he/she is to conduct a physical examination on a patient of the opposite sex. If the patient demands the examination to be conducted in the absence of other persons, the CMP should record such request in the patient’s medical record.
The PB reiterates that if a CMP commits similar offences, once convicted by the court, the PB shall handle the case strictly in accordance with the disciplinary procedures specified under the CMO.
Professional Responsibility in Issuing Prescriptions
According to section 158 of the CMO, a CMP dispenses Chinese herbal medicine to a patient under his direct care and the Chinese herbal medicine is dispensed on a prescription given by him and at the premises where he practises, then he shall be exempted from applying for a retailer licence in Chinese herbal medicines from the Chinese Medicines Board (CMB) under the CMCHK.
To help CMPs dispense Chinese herbal medicines to patients under his/her direct care meeting the appropriate standards of practice, the PB reminds CMPs to refer to the Practising Guideline for Retailers of Chinese Herbal Medicines compiled by the CMB. This Guideline covers standards on various aspects including personnel, premises, scope of business, keeping of records, processing of herbal medicines, preparing or compounding preparations and dispensing single Chinese medicine granules for prescription. It has been uploaded to the CMCHK homepage (http://www.cmchk.org.hk).
It is stipulated in the Codes that a CMP must be professionally responsible to his/her patient. The prescriptions issued by a CMP should conform with professional standards and the names and dosages of the Chinese herbal medicines should be specified on the prescription.
In addition, a CMP must be professionally responsible for the Chinese medicines prescribed directly by him-/herself or by dispensers and other staff under his/her supervision to patients under his/her care. The PB also appeals to CMPs to purchase medicines from licensed wholesaler of proprietary Chinese medicines or Chinese herbal medicines with good reputation. No medicines of unclear or unreliable sources should be purchased.
If a CMP has done something which has fallen short of the standards of conduct expected among members of his/her profession, it could be regarded as professional misconduct and the PB and its Disciplinary Committee will handle such cases strictly.
Standards on Prescribing Medicines
It is stipulated in the Codes that a CMP shall issue prescriptions which conform with professional standards and shall not prescribe excessive or inappropriate medicines. If a CMP prescribes inappropriately with excessive dosages or excessive number of medicines without referring to any therapeutic principles, treatment methods, treatment priorities, or against the principle by which medicines are combined, the treatment of the patients would be adversely affected.
In addition, the PB reminds all listed CMPs that, according to section 109 of the CMO, only registered CMPs are permitted to prescribe Chinese herbal medicines specified in Schedule 1. For details of the provision and the schedule, please visit this website (http://www.legislation.gov.hk/blis/eng/index.html).
Proper Keeping of Medical Records
It is stipulated in the Codes that a CMP should maintain personal medical records for his/her patients. Personal medical records should include the patients’ names, gender, consultation dates, contact details, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments applied.
Proper maintenance of the medical records of patients is an important responsibility of CMPs. In case a patient has any concern on the medical treatment given by individual CMP or suffers from any medical incident whereas the CMP concerned is not available to provide details of the patient, the medical record and history of the patient shall be important references for the officers responsible for investigating the incident or other medical professionals or first-aiders to take measures accordingly. The Codes require that a CMP should be able to provide information including his diagnosis of the patient, medicines prescribed and treatment methods. The PB reminds all CMPs again the importance of complying with the above regulations on proper keeping of medical records.
All CMPs are advised to pay attention to the following updates on "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome" and "Human Infection with Avian Influenza A (H7N9) virus".
The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted the name "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus" when referring to the "Novel Coronavirus associated with Severe Respiratory Disease" since 29 May 2013. In this connection, the Government has amended the relevant ordinance accordingly.
Under the amendment, "Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus" has been renamed as "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome" while "Novel Coronavirus associated with Severe Respiratory Disease" has been renamed as "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus". Since the WHO reported two confirmed cases of human infection with the virus in September 2012, both the disease and the virus have been included in the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation. The disease is one of the statutorily notifiable infectious diseases in Hong Kong.
In addition, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) received notifications from the National Health and Family Planning Commission in March 2013 related to confirmed cases of "Human Infection with Avian Influenza A(H7N9) virus". Influenza A (H7) is a statutorily notifiable infectious disease in Hong Kong.
In view of the latest scientific evidence and international practice, the CHP has updated the reporting criteria for "Human Infection of Avian Influenza A (H7N9) virus" and "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome". The longest incubation period of "Human Infection with Avian Influenza A (H7N9) virus" has been revised from 7 days to 10 days and Guangdong has been included in the list of affected area whereas the longest incubation period of "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome" has been revised from 10 days to 14 days. The DH sent letters to all CMPs and CMP associations informing them of the above updates on 26 April, 7 May, 14 May and 14 June 2013.
As of August 2013, no confirmed cases of the above two statutorily notifiable infectious diseases were reported in Hong Kong. The DH shall continue to maintain close liaison with the WHO and relevant health authorities to implement appropriate control and preventive measures.
The DH reminds all CMPs of exercising stringent infection control measures in Chinese medicine clinics, and advising their patients to take appropriate measures against "Human Infection with Avian Influenza A (H7N9) virus" and "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome". Any suspected case meeting the reporting criteria should be immediately referred to public hospitals for further treatment. The updated reporting criteria for the above two infectious diseases are attached in this Newsletter (Appendix 2) for reference to all CMPs.
For further information on "Avian Influenza" and "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome", please visit the "Avian Influenza" webpage (http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html) and the "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome" webpage (http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/content/9/24/26528.html) of the CHP.
The PB has not been able to contact some listed CMPs by using the telephone numbers and addresses they provided.
The PB appeals to the following CMPs to contact the Secretariat of the CMCHK (tel. no.: 2121 1888, fax no.: 2121 1898) as soon as possible. If other fellow CMPs happen to keep contact with any of them, please ask them to contact the Secretariat directly so that their contact information can be updated.
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 PB. The form of Change of Personal Particulars of CMPs can be obtained from the Secretariat or downloaded from the CMCHK homepage (http://www.cmchk.org.hk).
Should you have any opinions regarding the content of the Newsletter, please write to the Secretariat by post, fax or email, indicating "Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board". Every issue of the Newsletter is uploaded to the CMCHK homepage (http://www.cmchk.org.hk) after publication and those CMPs who are interested may 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
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Service Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays