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Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong
Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board
Issue No.47 / December 2017
(English Translation)

Introduction

It has been over 18 years since the enactment of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance ("CMO") in July 1999. From then onwards, the regulatory work on Chinese medicine practitioners ("CMPs") has won recognition from the trade and the public, thereby establishing the professional status of CMPs in Hong Kong. For the past six years, the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board ("CMPB") has, under the leadership of former Chairman Mr WONG Kit, strictly implemented the regulatory measures stipulated in the CMO which helped improve the professional standard of CMPs as well as public confidence in Chinese medicine services. The six committees under the CMPB have also been working tirelessly on matters relating to the registration, examination and discipline of CMPs. May I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all members of the CMPB and its committees for their enormous contribution to the local Chinese medicine sector.

It is a great honour to be appointed as the Chairman of the CMPB for this term. I shall work closely with all members of the CMPB to continue safeguarding public health and raising the professional standard of CMPs.

It is my pleasure to welcome Mr WONG Kwun-ming, Mr WONG Hung-ngan, Mr YEUNG Cheuk-ming, Ms LO Dak-wai, Alexandra, Ms HONG Yuan-xia, Prof. LIN Zhi-xiu, Mr WOO King-hang and Ms WONG Hang-yee, the new members of the Practitioners Board.

It is also a pleasure to introduce the following committee Chairmen, appointed by the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong ("CMCHK"), of the committees under Practitioners Board: Mr WONG Kwun-ming as the Chairman of Examination Committee, Mr WONG Hung-ngan as that of the Disciplinary Committee, Ms LO Dai-wai, Alexandra as that of the Committee on Assessment of Chinese Medicine Degree Course and Mr YEUNG Cheuk-ming as that of the Ethics Committee. For the member lists of the Practitioners Board and the committees, please visit the CMC homepage (http://www.cmchk.org.hk).

It has been endorsed by the Practitioners Board that Mr YEUNG Cheuk-ming, Ms HONG Yuan-xia and Ms WONG Hang-yee to be appointed as the member of the editorial board of the Newsletter from the Practitioners Board (Newsletter), succeeding Ms FENG Jiu, Mr LUI Wai-keung and Dr MAK Sin-ping, whose tenures in the Practitioners Board have been completed in September. On behalf of the CMPB, I pay tribute to Ms FENG, Mr LUI and Dr MAK for their contributions as the members of the editorial board in the past years.

The 47th issue of the CMPB Newsletter is published in December 2017. Apart from updates on the work of the CMPB in the past four months, this issue also includes the number of disciplinary cases in 2016 for the attention of all CMPs.

With regard to disciplinary inquiries, CMPs are specifically reminded to observe the requirements stipulated in the CMO and the Codes1, namely their professional responsibilities, standards for prescribing medicines, information in the prescriptions, practice advertising, and reports of offences committed to the CMPB.

A letter was sent to all CMPs and CMP associations on 1 June 2017 to seek their views on the proposed amendments of the Code of Conduct for Listed Chinese Medicine Practitioners ("Code for Listed CMPs") in relation to the practice of Chinese medicine by listed CMPs who are unfit to practise by reason of health. The consultation results are also featured in this issue.

With a view to facilitating Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine ("CME") for CMPs, the CMPB has published the Newsletter and arranged for a quiz on the practice of Chinese medicine to be featured in every December issue. CMPs are invited to answer the questions 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.

Updates on the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme and information about the Health Manpower Survey conducted by the Department of Health are also provided in this issue for the reference of all CMPs.

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

 

Ms WONG Yu-yeuk
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 2017 CMPs Licensing Examination was conducted in August 2017. A total of 645 candidates attended the Clinical Examination, of which 209 candidates (32.4%) passed the Clinical Examination.

The Written Examination and the Clinical Examination of the 2018 CMPs Licensing Examination will be conducted in June and August 2018 respectively. The application period for non-listed CMP persons started on 18 September and ended on 31 October 2017, whereas the deadline for submitting applications for listed CMPs and repeaters is 29 March 2018. 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 2017, there were 7,423 registered CMPs, 39 CMPs with limited registration and 2,624 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 2017, 1,617 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.

The CMPB reminds that, 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. Any person whose name has been removed under the provisions of the CMO from the Register may apply to the CMPB pursuant to section 58 of the CMO for the restoration of his name to the Register. In considering an application for restoration, the CMPB may, in its discretion and after inquiry, either allow or refuse such application.

 

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

With a view to encouraging CMPs to read the Newsletter and facilitating CME for CMPs, 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 45 to 47 in 2017.

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 2017 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 12 February 2018. 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 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 can 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 addresses. CMPs who wish to change their personal particulars should complete the form, namely "Change of Personal Particulars of Chinese Medicine Practitioners", enclosed at the 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 16 July to 15 November 2017 on four registered CMPs and two listed CMPs who were convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment and/or alleged breaching the Codes2. Three registered CMPs and two listed CMP were found guilty after inquiries. The CMPB removed the name of one registered CMP for 3 months; removed the name of two registered CMPs for 3 to 9 months but with a suspension of 24 months, and put the decision for two listed CMPs on record for future reference.

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

Professional Responsibility

A complaint was received recently from a patient who was suspected to have contracted a bacterial infection after an acupuncture treatment. With a view to preventing infections during acupuncture treatments, the CMPB hereby reminds all CMPs to carry out thorough sterilisation before any skin-piercing operations. In particular, CMPs must never test the sharpness of the needles to be used on a patient on their own skin. Furthermore, to prevent the transmission of blood-borne diseases among patients, CMPs must use disposable acupuncture needles. This helps to avoid harm to the patients and therefore reduce the risks of serious medical incidents.

According to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP), all health care workers should receive hepatitis B vaccination, for the sake of their own safety and that of the patients. For further details, please refer to the CHP’s Summary Statement on Vaccination Practice for Health Care Workers in Hong Kong (http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/24008.html).

According to the provisions of section 2 of Part 3 of the Codes, CMPs shall be professionally responsible to their patients by diligently improving 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.

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, against the principle by which medicines are combined or compatibility of Chinese medicine principle, the treatment of patients would be adversely affected.

Furthermore, all CMPs must make safety their first priority in prescribing medicines. They should draw reference to the recommended drug dosages stated in the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China, and closely monitor for any adverse reactions of patients especially when toxic Chinese herbal medicines are prescribed. CMPs should also give medical instructions in clear written form to ensure that their patients can understand and follow their instructions in preparing and consuming the Chinese medicines. CMPs should also inform their patients of the known possible side effects of the prescriptions, and ask them to seek medical advice promptly if they experience any illness after taking the prescribed medicines.

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/eng/index.htm).

Information in Prescriptions

The CMPB is concerned that some CMPs have failed to list in their prescriptions all necessary information, including the names and dosages of all Chinese medicines; instructions such as methods of preparation and administration of the medicines as well as number of times for re-dispensing; name, address, contact telephone number and signature of the CMP; and issuing date of the prescription, etc.

Under the codes of practice, CMPs are also required to ensure that the issued prescriptions are clear and legible. The CMPB reminds all CMPs again that 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 personnel can initiate prompt investigations and provide follow-up treatments to the patients by making reference to the prescriptions issued, thereby ensuring that the medical interests of the patients are best served.

Practice Advertising

Recent disciplinary cases revealed that some CMPs had displayed titles other than those permitted by section 6(2)(a)(ii) in Part 3 of the Codes on their signboards.

The CMPB hereby reminds all CMPs that pursuant to section 6(2)(a)(ii) in Part 3 of the Code of Professional Conduct for Registered CMPs, signboards exhibited by a registered CMP to the public to signify his practice may only contain the Chinese title of "香港中醫藥管理委員會註冊中醫", "香港中醫藥管理委員會註冊中醫師", "註冊中醫" or "註冊中醫師" or the English title of "registered Chinese medicine practitioner of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong" or "registered Chinese medicine practitioner", with one of the streams of practice put in brackets at the end of the title ("全科", "針灸" or "骨傷" in Chinese or "General Practice", "Acupuncture" or "Bone-setting" in English).

As for listed CMPs, section 6(2)(a)(ii) in Part 3 of the Code for Listed CMPs stipulates that signs and signboards exhibited by a listed CMP may contain the Chinese title of "中醫" or "中醫師" or the English title of "Chinese medicine practitioner".

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.

2The 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.

 

Disciplinary Cases in 2016

In 2016, a total of 209 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
8
(ii)
Professional Responsibility
32
(iii)
Professional Ethics
4
(vi)
Practising Rules
52
(v)
Medical Practice
1
(vi)
Practice Advertising
112
 
Total
209

 

The CMPB held 19 inquiries in 2016 in accordance with sections 91 and 98 of CMO, involving 19 CMPs. The outcomes of the inquiries are as follow:

Decision made by the CMPB
Number of CMPs involved
(Case)
Substantiated
17
(i)
Registered CMPs
 
 
Removal for a certain period
5
 
Removal with suspension
5
 
Reprimand
4
 
Warning
1
(ii)
Listed CMPs
 
 
Removal for good
1
 
On Record for Future Reference
1
Not Substantiated
2
Total
19

 

Consultation Results of Amendments to the Code for Listed CMPs ("the Code")

The CMPB wrote to all CMPs and Chinese medicine associations in Hong Kong on 1 June 2017 to seek their views on amending the Code to address cases in which the capability of listed CMPs to practise was compromised because of health concern. The consultation exercise lasted for two months and ended on 31 July 2017.

During the consultation period, the Secretariat of the CMCHK ("the Secretariat") received written submissions from a total of ten CMPs, including five registered CMPs and five listed CMPs. Among them, five expressed support for amending the Code as they believed this could standardise the regulatory measures and ensure fair handling of the health issues of both registered and listed CMPs, thereby protecting the rights of the people and further safeguarding public health and safety. On the other hand, two CMPs opposed the proposed amendments as they considered that efforts should be focused on supporting listed CMPs to pursue continued education, and there was no direct relation between the health conditions of listed CMPs and their medical expertise. They also questioned if there were similar provisions to deal with the health concerns of western medicine practitioners and if the proposed amendments would contravene the Disability Discrimination Ordinance. As to the remaining three CMPs, they expressed other views.

The consultation results show that CMPs support the amendments in general. The purpose of amending the Code is to facilitate the handling of cases where listed CMPs are deemed unfit to practise Chinese medicine by reason of health, hence the arrangements for handling health concerns of both registered and listed CMPs can be standardised and the safety and best interest of the public can be guaranteed. Regular submission of a medical certificate was not mandatory unless the listed CMP was known to be unfit to practise Chinese medicine by reason of health and an investigation was warranted. The existing Medical Registration Ordinance also requires that the Medical Council of Hong Kong ("MCHK") to set up a Health Committee to deal with health cases of registered medical practitioners. Therefore, the proposed amendments are in line with the MCHK’s practice.

Upon careful deliberation on the written submissions, the CMCHK and the CMPB have decided to take forward the proposed amendments set out in the consultation document. The amendments to the Code are listed below:

  1. Section 2(4) of Part III

    When discharging his professional duties, a listed Chinese medicine practitioner shall ensure that his health condition is fit to practise and his professional capability is not affected (such as under the influence of alcohol or drugs). If, while discharging his professional duties, the health condition of a listed Chinese medicine practitioner renders him unfit to practise, he is deemed to have breached his professional responsibility; and

    在執行專業職務時,表列中醫應確保其健康狀況適宜作中醫執業及其專業工作能力不受影響(例如受酒精或藥物的影響)。如表列中醫在執行專業職務時,其健康狀況不適宜作中醫執業,則其將被視作違反其專業責任;及

  2. A new requirement to be added to Part III

    7. Health Conditions
    (1) If any listed Chinese medicine practitioner is unfit to practise Chinese medicine by reason of health, the Practitioners Board shall have the power, after due inquiry, to find that he has breached the conditions3 imposed on his practice of Chinese medicine for this reason.

    7. 健康狀況
    (1) 如任何表列中醫因為其健康理由而不適合作中醫執業,則中醫組有權經適當研訊後,以此理由將其視作為違反其作中醫執業的條件。

The revised provisions, which have been uploaded to the CMCHK’s homepage (http://www.cmchk.org.hk), will become effective from 1 January 2018 and will be posted to all listed CMPs in the end of December 2017.

The CMPB has set up a Health Committee in May 2017 to assist its assessment work on the fitness of registered CMPs to practise Chinese medicine. Another Health Committee will be set up in due course to deal with health cases of listed CMPs. We would like to remind you that listed CMPs must comply with the Code issued by the CMPB as a condition for practice and any breach of the Code may be regarded a professional misconduct.

3According to the Notification to Listed CMP issued by the CMCHK dated 19 December 2001, all listed CMPs are required, as a condition for continuing practising Chinese medicine, to comply with the Code compiled by the CMCHK, pursuant to section 90(3)(a) of the Ordinance. The latest published version of the Code shall prevail.

 

Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme – A Message to All Registered CMPs

The Government launched the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme ("HCVS") in 2009 to subsidise elders aged 70 or above to use private primary care services, including Chinese medicine services. Since 2014, the annual voucher amount for each eligible elder has been increased to $2,000. In addition, the eligibility age for the HCVS has been lowered from 70 to 65 since 1 July 2017.

As of September 2017, over 2,300 registered CMPs have enrolled in the Scheme. Registered CMPs are hereby cordially invited to enrol in the HCVS to allow eligible elders to choose Chinese medicine services in their community that best suit their needs. A copy of the leaflet about the HCVS is enclosed at Appendix III to this issue for CMPs’ reference. Procedures for enrolling in the scheme and using vouchers are simple and easy. For details, please visit the Scheme’s website (http://www.hcv.gov.hk) or contact Health Care Voucher Unit of the DH (Tel. No.: 3582 4102).

 

Health Manpower Survey

The 2017 Health Manpower Survey conducted by the DH has commenced. This survey aims at collecting information on the manpower and employment status of healthcare personnel practising in Hong Kong, which is essential to formulate long-term policy on health manpower planning and training. The questionnaire has been distributed to all CMPs together with the previous issues of Newsletter. It is known that some CMPs have not returned the completed questionnaire yet, enclosed please find the reminder and questionnaire to all CMPs from DH. Please return the duly completed questionnaire with the enclosed envelope to the Health Manpower Unit of the DH as soon as possible. For further enquiry, please visit http://www.dh.gov.hk/english/statistics/statistics_hms/statistics_hms.html or contact Health Manpower Unit at 2961 8566.

 

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 CMPB. 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
Telephone number: (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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