The workgroup to Review the Taking of Informed Consent and the Singapore Medical Council Disciplinary Process has made a series of recommendations, including the provision of a duty that is “patient-centric but ultimately based on the opinion of a responsible body of doctors”. The recommendation is similar to that suggested in the Australian Review of the Law of Negligence 2002.
The proposed formulation of the legal test for the provision of medical advice (Annexure E) is as follows:
(1) A healthcare professional shall be regarded as having discharged his duty of care in the provision of medical advice to his patient if the medical advice he has provided is supported by a respectable body of medical opinion as competent professional practice in the circumstances (“peer professional opinion”).
(2) For the purpose of paragraph 1, the respectable body of medical opinion must consider whether the healthcare professional gave to the patient relevant and material information that a patient in those circumstances would reasonably require in order to make informed treatment decision(s), and information that the healthcare professional knows would be relevant and material to the patient.
(3) However, peer professional opinion cannot be relied on for the purpose of paragraph 1 if the court determines that the opinion is illogical.
(4) The fact that there are differing peer professional opinions by a significant number of respected practitioners in the field concerning a matter does not in itself mean that the peer professional opinion being relied on for the purpose of paragraph 1 should be disregarded as evidence of a respectable body of medical opinion.