Insurance may become compulsory for Singaporean doctors

If approved, this could affect more than 4,000 private practice physicians

Insurance may become compulsory for Singaporean doctors

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) and the Ministry of Health is looking at a proposal to make professional liability insurance mandatory for all doctors.

This type of insurance covers doctors from claims by patients in case the doctors commit a mistake that causes harm to the patient. It also protects patients because they know they will be compensated in case things go wrong due to doctor error.

Aside from legal costs, the insurance also covers any reimbursement that needs to be paid to the patient or their families. The doctor can also choose to settle instead of engaging in a legal battle to avoid negative publicity.

Even though a large number of Singaporean doctors take out this kind of insurance, not all physicians are covered, as it is not a requirement and premiums can be quite expensive.

Premium for insurance that covers doctors doing “high-risk” procedures can run in the tens of thousands of dollars annually. Examples of these procedures are aesthetic surgery, neurosurgery, and bariatric surgery.

Section 36(7) of the Medical Registration Act allows the SMC to require doctors to have professional liability insurance, but as of the moment, the SMC has yet to exercise that clause, a spokesman for the SMC told the Straits Times.

The spokesman added that the SMC is “currently working with the Ministry of Health to look into the proposal of mandating insurance for doctors.” He was unable to elaborate further as the proposal is still under review.

In the event it becomes mandatory, it will apply to over 4,000 doctors in private practice. Government-employed doctors will not be included as they are already covered by the institutions that employ them.

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