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Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong
Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board
Issue No.44 / December 2016
(English Translation)

Introduction

This issue of the Newsletter mainly reports on the progress of work of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board ("CMPB") in the past four months, which includes the renewal of practising certificates and Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine ("CME") for registered Chinese medicine practitioners ("CMPs"), arrangements for the 2017 Chinese Medicine Practitioners Licensing Examination and findings of disciplinary inquiries. Some requirements under the Codes1 are also highlighted in this issue for the attention of CMPs.

With a view to encouraging CMPs to read the Newsletter, the CMPB has arranged for a Quiz on the practice of Chinese medicine to be featured in every December issue for CMPs to participate and earn CME points. Since the first publication of the CME Quiz in late 2011, the support and responses from registered CMPs have been overwhelming and pleasing. By reading the Newsletter, CMPs gain not only the latest information on the Chinese medical profession, but also CME points. The CME Quiz for this year is enclosed herewith and active participation of registered CMPs is most welcome.

In accordance with the Chinese Medicine Ordinance ("CMO"), the CMPB may order the removal from the Register the name of any registered CMP who has practised Chinese medicine without a valid practising certificate for a period exceeding six months. All registered CMPs are hereby reminded to take note of the validity of their own practising certificate and submit a renewal application to the CMPB when it expires.

With regard to disciplinary inquiries, CMPs are specifically reminded to observe the requirements stipulated in the CMO and the Codes, namely their professional responsibilities and conduct, standards for prescribing medicines, appropriate referrals of patients, practice advertising, reports of offences committed to the CMPB, regulation of the prescription of proprietary Chinese medicines, proper keeping of patients' medical records and change of name or use of an alias in their practice. As for the number of disciplinary cases in 2015, you may wish to refer to the main text.

In addition, measures for preventing and controlling influenza recommended by the Department of Health are also featured for CMPs' attention.

On behalf of the CMPB, may I wish all CMPs all the best and good health in the coming year.

Mr WONG Kit
Chairman of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board

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.

 

Chinese Medicine Practitioners Licensing Examination

The Clinical Examination of the 2016 CMPs Licensing Examination was conducted in August 2016. A total of 573 candidates attended and 237 candidates (41.4%) passed the Clinical Examination.

The Written Examination and the Clinical Examination of the 2017 CMPs Licensing Examination will be conducted in June and August 2017 respectively. The application period for non-listed CMP persons started on 19 September and ended on 31 October 2016, whereas the deadline for submitting applications for listed CMPs and repeaters is 31 March 2017. The CMPB has notified all qualified listed CMPs by mail the enrollment period for taking the examination.

 

Number of Chinese Medicine Practitioners

As at 30 November 2016, there were 7,261 registered CMPs, 49 CMPs with limited registration and 2,647 listed CMPs.

 

Renewal of Practising Certificates and Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners

Pursuant to section 76 of the CMO, registered CMPs must hold 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 CMPB before they can renew their practising certificates.

From 1 August to 30 November 2016, 624 registered CMPs had their practising certificates renewed. All registered CMPs who have their practising certificates renewed should report promptly to their CME Administrators their new CME cycles, required CME points and the validity period of their practising certificates.

In accordance with section 56(1)(d) of the CMO, if registered CMPs practise Chinese medicine without valid practising certificates for a period exceeding six months since the expiry of their practising certificates, the CMPB may order removal from the Register the name of those registered CMPs.

 

Awarding Points of Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine through Reading the Newsletter

With a view to encouraging CMPs to read the Newsletter, the CMPB has arranged for a Quiz with ten questions on the practice of Chinese medicine to be featured in every December issue for CMPs to participate and earn CME points. These ten questions are based on the content of Issue 42 to 44 in 2016.

Two CME points would be awarded for successful attempt of six or more questions. The ceiling of CME points obtained through CME Quiz within each three-year cycle is 10% of the 60 CME points required in the same cycle, i.e. six points per cycle. The accumulated CME points obtained through CME Quiz and other self-study activities should not exceed 30 points per cycle.

The CME Quiz of 2016 is attached at Appendix I of this issue of the Newsletter. Registered CMPs may send the completed answer sheet to their respective CME Administrators by fax or by mail on or before 17 February 2017. The CME Administrators will assess and record the CME points awarded for the registered CMPs. No CME points would be awarded for any late submission.

The Secretariat of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (CMCHK) will not relay the answer sheets to the CME administrators for any CMPs. To avoid delay, CMPs are reminded to submit the completed answer sheets directly to their CME Administrators.

CMPs are welcome to read the previous issues of the Newsletters in the CMCHK homepage (http://www.cmchk.org.hk).

 

Requirement for CMPs to Update the CMCHK on their Registered Address/Practising Address

It is specified in the Application Form for Registration as Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Practising Certificate that registered CMPs must provide their practising address as the registered address. For those who practise at more than one location, their principal practising address should be provided as the registered address.

In accordance with sections 52 and 53 of the CMO, registered address shall be recorded in the Register of Chinese Medicine Practitioners. The Registrar shall publish in the Gazette once every 12 months the names, registered addresses and qualifications of all registered CMPs listed in the said Register. Such information will also be published in the website of the CMCHK.

In addition, the CMPB shall arrange to publish in the Gazette from time to time the list of listed CMPs under section 90(6) of the CMO. Such information will also be published in the website of the CMCHK.

To ensure that members of the public may verify the qualifications of CMPs from the Gazette or the website of the CMCHK, both registered and listed CMPs are required to update the CMCHK on their practising address. CMPs who wish to change their personal particulars should complete the form, namely "Change of Personal Particulars of Chinese Medicine Practitioners", enclosed at Appendix II, and send it to the Secretariat of the CMCHK by post (Address: 22/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong) or by fax (Fax no.: 2121 1898).

 

Disciplinary Inquiries Conducted by the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board

The CMPB held disciplinary inquiries from 1 August to 30 November 2016 on six registered CMPs who were convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment and/or alleged breaching the Codes. Five registered CMPs were found guilty after inquiries. The CMPB reprimanded and removed the name of a registered CMP for 3 months; removed the name of two registered CMPs for 3 to 6 months with a suspension of 18 to 35 months; and reprimanded two registered CMPs.

Summing up the above cases, the CMPB reminds all CMPs to take note of the following issues.

Professional Responsibility

According to the provisions of section 2 of Part III of the Codes, CMPs shall be professionally responsible to their patients. They should explain patiently to patients their medical conditions, methods of treatment and the precautions in taking drugs. They should diligently improve their professional knowledge and skills, so as to maintain high professional standards in providing medical service to patients. If the CMPB considers that a CMP, in the course of conduct of his profession, has conducted himself in a way which has fallen short of the reasonable standards of conduct expected among his professional colleagues, the CMP may have contravened the above-mentioned provisions of the Codes.

The CMPB reminds all CMPs to provide treatment carefully, avoid a hazard to the patient and committing any professional misconduct.

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 patients would be adversely affected.

In addition, the CMPB 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).

Appropriate Referral of Patients

According to section 2(5) of Part III of the Codes, CMPs should make medical referrals when necessary, and the registered medical professionals to whom a patient is referred should be able to provide the required treatment according to the diagnosis. The CMPB reminds all CMPs to make appropriate referral of patients when necessary and choose the medicines or apparatus that best serve the medical interest of patients according to his independent professional judgment.

Practice Advertising

The CMPB would like to reiterate that according to the Codes, CMPs shall not carry out or participate in any practice advertising works or activities. Practice advertising refers to the adoption of various promotion measures to enhance the popularity of CMPs so as to gain benefits from his business, including the promotion of a CMP, his work or his practice, by himself or others (including his employer). Inappropriate advertising measures include the provision of information to, and soliciting business from the public or his patients. Any information provided by a CMP to the public or his patients must be legitimate, honest, true, not exaggerated, and must not claim superiority over other CMPs, or disparage other CMPs. A CMP who has any kind of professional relationship with an organization, when participating in advertising activities or services of the organization, must exercise due diligence to ensure that the organizations do not advertise in contravention of the principles and rules applicable to CMPs as mentioned above.

Reporting Court Convictions to the CMPB

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 CMPB within 28 days, specifying the case number, date of conviction, venue, offence and sentence. If the CMP concerned fails to do so, the CMPB will take disciplinary actions in accordance with the Codes.

Regulation of the Prescription of Proprietary Chinese Medicines (pCm)

There are some CMPs who do not specify in their prescriptions all the ingredients and dosages of the Chinese herbal medicines contained in the pCm prescribed, the CMPB reminds CMPs again that:

i.
in prescribing any pCm compounded by them or under their supervision, all the ingredients and dosages of the Chinese herbal medicines contained in the pCm must be specified in the prescriptions; and
ii.
in prescribing any registered pCm, the following information must be specified in the prescriptions:
 
1.
its product name;
 
2.
its registration number; and
 
3.
a.
a photocopy of its external package or package insert showing the ingredients and dosages of the Chinese herbal medicines contained; or

 

 

b.

all the ingredients and dosages of the Chinese herbal medicines contained.

The above requirements serve to protect the right of the patients to gain full knowledge of all Chinese medicines prescribed. In case of medical incidents, healthcare workers can initiate prompt investigations and provide follow-up treatments by making reference to the prescriptions issued, thereby ensuring that the medical interests of the patients are best served.

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 concern on the medical treatment given by individual CMP or suffers from 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, 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 CMPB reminds all CMPs again the importance of complying with the above regulations on proper keeping of medical records. If there is any violation, the CMPB will process the case seriously in accordance with the disciplinary procedures.

Change of Name of CMPs or Use of Alias in their Practice

CMPs must make sure that their name as recorded in the list/register of CMPs is used when they practise Chinese medicine, or otherwise they may contravene the Codes and even be investigated by the Police for suspected illegal practice of Chinese medicine.

The CMPB hereby reiterates that CMPs who wish to use an alias in their practice should apply to the Immigration Department ("ImmD") for alias registration and submit the Certificate of Registered Particulars for the CMPB's approval before using the alias. CMPs who have completed the alias registration may use their name as recorded in the list/register of CMPs and/or their alias in their practice. As for CMPs whose application for alias registration is still being processed by the ImmD, they may only use their name as recorded in the list/register of CMPs or list their alias alongside their name as recorded in the said list/register.

CMPs who have been notified by the CMPB of the requirement for alias registration but have not yet filed an application to the ImmD should complete the registration within 12 weeks from the date of notification. CMPs who continue to use their alias in their practice without completing the alias registration may be subject to disciplinary procedures.

On the other hand, for CMPs who have changed their name, please bring along the original of their deed poll and proof of identity to the Secretariat of the CMCHK for change of personal particulars as soon as practicable.

 

Disciplinary Cases in 2015

In 2015, a total of 186 disciplinary cases were received by the CMPB, the details of the disciplinary figures are listed as follow:

 
Category of Case
Number (Case)
(i)
Discipline and Conduct
4
(ii)
Professional Responsibility
33
(iii)
Professional Ethics
3
(vi)
Practising Rules
66
(v)
Medical Practice
1
(vi)
Practice Advertising
79
 
Total
186

 

The CMPB held 18 inquiries in 2015 in accordance with sections 91 and 98 of CMO, involving 18 CMPs. The outcomes of the inquiries are as follow:

Decision made by the CMPB
Number of CMPs involved
(Case)
Substantiated
16
(i)
Registered CMPs
 
 
Removal for a certain period
1
 
Removal with suspension
5
 
Reprimand
6
 
Warning
2
(ii)
Listed CMPs
 
 
Removal for good
1
 
On Record for Future Reference
1
Not Substantiated
2
Total
18

 

Amendments to the English version of the Codes

Information that Must Be Included in Prescriptions

The CMPB has recently endorsed the amendments to the provisions setting out the information that must be included in prescriptions in the English version of the Codes so that it tallies with the meaning of the Chinese version. Under the prevailing clauses 4(6)(c) and (d) in Part 3 of the Chinese version of the Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Hong Kong and clauses 4(7)(c) and (d) in Part 3 of the Chinese version of the Code of Conduct for Listed Chinese Medicine Practitioners, prescriptions issued by CMPs must include the name names of all Chinese medicines ("中藥") and their dosages. In view of this, the term "Chinese herbal medicines" in the corresponding provisions in the English version of the Codes will be amended to "Chinese medicines". The revised Codes can be downloaded from the website of the CMCHK (www.cmchk.org.hk).

CMPs are hereby reminded that as a condition for practising Chinese medicine, they are required to comply with the Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Hong Kong or the Code of Conduct for Listed Chinese Medicine Practitioners issued by the CMPB as appropriate. Any CMP contravening the Codes will be considered to have committed professional misconduct.

 

Heighten Vigilance in Prevention against Influenza

In Hong Kong, seasonal influenza is usually more common in periods from January to March and from July to August every year. The Department of Health ("DH") urges all CMPs to remind their patients to avoid going to crowded or poorly ventilated public places when influenza is prevalent; high-risk individuals, such as the elderly and young children, may consider putting on surgical masks when staying in such places.

Besides, the DH also recommends that CMPs should remind their patients to take the following measures to prevent influenza and respiratory tract infections:

For the latest information on influenza activity, please visit the website of the Centre for Health Protection ("CHP") under the DH (http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/14843.html) or refer to the Flu Express published weekly by the CHP (http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/guideline1_year/29/134/441/304.html).

 

Personal Data

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).

 

Suggestions

Should you have any opinions regarding the content of the Newsletter, please send them to the Secretariat by post, fax or email, indicating "Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board".  All published Newsletters are uploaded to the CMCHK 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
E-mail Address: info@cmchk.org.hk
Homepage: http://www.cmchk.org.hk
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