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 Chinese Medicine Practitioners Licensing Examination, matters related to renewal of practising certificates and Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine ("CME") for registered Chinese medicine practitioners ("CMPs") and findings of disciplinary inquiries. Some requirements under the Codes1 are also highlighted in this issue for the attention of CMPs.
In accordance with the Chinese Medicine Ordinance ("CMO") (Cap.549 of the Laws of Hong Kong), 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. All registered CMPs are hereby reminded to take note of the validity of their practising certificate and submit a renewal application to the CMPB in a timely manner.
With regard to disciplinary inquiries, CMPs are specifically reminded to observe the requirements stipulated in the CMO and the Codes, namely professional conduct of CMPs, standards on prescribing medicines, professional responsibility, information in prescriptions and proper keeping of medical records, report court convictions to the CMPB, and change of name of CMPs or use of alias in their practice etc.
Information about Coronavirus Disease-19 ("COVID-19") and answers of the 2019 CME Quiz for awarding CME points through reading the Newsletter are attached to this issue for CMPs' reference. CMPs who wish to receive information on Chinese medicine through email may complete and return the reply slip attached to this issue to the Secretariat of Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong ("CMCHK").
On behalf of the CMPB, may I wish all CMPs all the best and good health.
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.
The application for sitting the 2020 CMPs Licensing Examination for non-listed CMPs was closed in late October 2019 and that for listed CMPs and repeaters was closed on 31 March 2020.
The Paper 1 and Paper 2 of the Written Examination of the 2020 CMPs Licensing Examination will be conducted on 9 June and 11 June 2020 respectively. In the event of bad weather, the examination on 9 June and 11 June 2020 will be postponed to 15 June and 17 June 2020 respectively. The Clinical Examination is scheduled to be held between late-July and Mid-August 2020.
Candidates should receive the admission forms and the Guidelines for Candidates at least one week prior to the examination. They may contact the Secretariat of the CMCHK at 2121 1888 if they do not receive the above-mentioned documents on time.
As at 15 February 2020, there were 7,580 registered CMPs, 32 CMPs with limited registration and 2,557 listed CMPs.
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.
The CMPB will issue letters to notify the registered CMPs concerned of the arrangements for the renewal of their practising certificates about three months in advance of the expiry dates. To ensure timely processing of renewal application and update of the expiry date of the practising certificate on the CMCHK homepage, the CMPB hereby appeals to all registered CMPs to follow the advice in the notification letter and submit the application along with the prescribed fee at least six weeks before the expiry of the practicing certificate.
From 16 November 2019 to 15 February 2020, 55 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 hereby reminds that:
if a registered CMP has decided not to renew his current practising certificate, he must stop practising Chinese medicine upon expiry of the certificate. Otherwise, he will contravene section 76(1) of the CMO.
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.
To encourage CMPs in reading the Newsletter, the CMPB endorsed in 2011 the introduction of the CME Quiz. Ten questions, based on the content of the three issues of the Newsletter of the year, will be published in the December issue every year. Two CME points would be awarded if successful attempt of six or more questions.
The correct answers of the 2019 CME Quiz are attached to this issue of Newsletter at Appendix I for CMPs' reference. The 2020 CME Quiz will be published in the December issue of the Newsletter (issue no. 56) this year.
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 CMPs and the Registrar shall publish in the Gazette from time to time 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 accordance with section 56(2) of the CMO, if registered CMPs fail to acknowledge within four months after the date of despatch the receipt of a registered letter addressed by the CMPB to them at their addresses recorded in the Register, then the CMPB may consider ordering the removal of their names from the Register.
For listed CMPs, the CMPB shall 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 (Address: Room 2201, 22/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong / Fax no.: 2121 1898 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The CMPB held disciplinary inquiry from 16 November 2019 to 15 February 2020 on one registered CMP who was convicted of offences punishable with imprisonment and/or alleged breaching the Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Hong Kong. The registered CMP was found guilty after inquiry. Upon inquiry, the CMPB warned and removed the name of the registered CMP for 6 months but with a suspension of 24 months.
Summing up the above case and disciplinary cases processed by the Disciplinary Committee of Chinese Medicine Practitioners, the CMPB reminds all CMPs to take note of the following issues.
Professional Conduct of CMPs
Regarding a CMP convicted by the court of indecent assault in the course of treatment of a patient, the CMPB 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 a chaperone 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 CMPB reiterates that if a CMP commits similar offences, once convicted by the court, the CMPB shall handle the case strictly in accordance with the disciplinary procedures specified under the CMO.
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 the prescriptions were found to violate the principle by which medicines are combined or compatibility of Chinese medicine principle or a CMP prescribes inappropriately with excessive dosages or excessive number of medicines without referring to any therapeutic principles, treatment methods, treatment priorities, the treatment of patients would be adversely affected. If the CMPB considers a CMP has not provided adequate treatment to his patients according to their medical conditions or conducted himself in a way which has fallen short of the reasonable standards of conduct expected among his professional colleagues, the CMPB will take disciplinary actions in accordance with the Codes.
Furthermore, all CMPs must make safety their first priority in prescribing medicines especially when toxic Chinese herbal medicines are prescribed. 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. 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.
According to the provisions of section 2 of Part III of the Codes, CMPs shall be professionally responsible to their patients. They should diligently improve their professional knowledge and skills, so as to maintain high professional standards in providing medical service to patients.
CMPs must be professionally responsible for the services provided by the assistants and other staff under their supervision to the patients treated by them. CMPs must monitor the diagnosis and the entire treatment process to ensure the safety of patients during treatment.
If the CMPB considers that a CMP has not properly monitored his / her assistants or staff, the CMP may have contravened the above-mentioned provisions of the Codes.
Information in Prescriptions and Proper Keeping of Medical Records
The CMPB is concerned that some CMPs have failed to list in their prescriptions all necessary information, according to the requirements in the Codes 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. It is also stipulated in the Codes that a CMP should maintain personal medical records for his patients. Personal medical records should include the patients' names, gender, consultation dates, contact details, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments applied.
Once again, the CMPB wishes to draw the attention of all CMPs to the fact that a patient has the right to know clearly what Chinese medicine is being prescribed for him. In case of a medical incident, a patient's prescription, as well as the medical records maintained by the CMP, can further be used for immediate investigation and follow-up treatment in the best medical interests of the patient. It is therefore stipulated in the Codes that CMPs must maintain and provide such information relating to the patient as the diagnosis, medicine prescribed and treatment. The CMPB cannot stress enough the importance of compliance with the above requirements in respect of proper maintenance of patients' medical records and issuing prescriptions. Rigorous action will be taken according to disciplinary procedures in case of violations.
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.
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.
Besides, 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.
In response to the rapidly evolving Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) situation, the Department of Health (DH) has issued nine letters from 2 January to 25 February 2020 to disseminate the latest information to CMPs, including the development of the situation, preventive measures implemented by the Government, infection control guidelines for Chinese medicine clinics, referral criteria and transfer of suspected cases, arrangements for attending infection control forums, and related health advices. For the most updated information, please visit the "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk).
The CMCHK, CMPB and the DH have been disseminating information relating to Chinese medicine through different channels over the years, including the Newsletter from the CMPB, information on public health issues and latest information on Chinese medicine.
For a more environmentally friendly and efficient means of communication, the Secretariat have invited CMPs and CMP Associations opt for receiving information and publications on Chinese medicine by email in February 2018 and January 2020 respectively.
If you would like to receive the information through email, please fill in the reply slip enclosed at the Appendix III and return to the Secretariat of CMCHK (Address: Room 2201, 22/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong / Fax no.: 2121 1898 / E-mail: email@example.com).
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).
Should you have any opinions regarding the content of the Newsletter, please send them to the Secretariat of the CMCHK 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
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