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Hi, is the doctor in?

  Wednesday, 08 l 12 l 2010 Source:  The Straits Times   
By: Ng Wan Ching

Doctors are linked to two Novena Medical Centre units offering bioresonance therapy. But they don’t practise there. Is this misleading?  

novena-medical-centreUNITS at the Novena Medical Centre in Square 2 can be used only as medical or dental clinics by registered practitioners. Yet, two owners are apparently renting out their units for bioresonance therapy, which is not considered conventional medical treatment. Both units also list doctors’ names, either on a common nameboard or on their websites.

Here’s the catch: These doctors don’t practice there. So the use of their names could mislead prospective patients. The two units could also be contravening the rules governing the use of the medical suites in the centre. In particular, one states that they must be used as medical and/or dental clinics by approved practitioners.

In October, the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) fined and censured a doctor, Dr Erwin Kay, 38, for using a bioresonance machine to treat patients who included smokers, those with allergies and with autism.

The Bioresonance Therapy (BRT) Centre in Square 2 offers mainly bioresonance therapy (an electromagnetic therapy). A Dr David Eu is listed under BRT Centre on a common nameboard listing the clinics on each floor. His name is also featured on BRT Centre’s website. In an earlier interview with The New Paper, Mr Vincent Ho, a naturopath and executive director of the BRT Centre, said Dr Eu does not practise medicine there nor does it refer patients to Dr Eu. He said Dr Eu was an adviser, but did not want to elaborate on what this meant other than to say that Dr Eu keeps him updated on Ministry of Health (MOH) regulations. Two Dr David Eus are listed on the SMC register of medical practitioners.

When The New Paper called one of them, listed as working in a clinic in Phillip Street, he denied that he was linked to BRT Centre. The other Dr Eu was listed as working in the A&E department of Changi General Hospital (CGH). A CGH spokesman said that Dr Eu is a locum (doctor filling in a temporary position). Both Mr Ho and CGH declined to contact Dr Eu on our behalf.

A Dr Koh Lam Son is linked to Trio 33 Preventive & Anti-Aging Healthcare, but checks showed that he does not practise there. Dr Koh, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, has a clinic in Changi Road. When The New Paper called his clinic, a nurse said he was not in Singapore. Mr M Manoharan, managing director of Trio 33, said he sought Dr Koh’s help when he wanted to rent a unit at Novena Medical Centre. He said Dr Koh was comfortable in allowing his name to be used, but never practised at the unit.

“We were inspected by the management corporation when we moved in and were allowed to rent the premises,” said Mr Manoharan. He said that clients use the “medi-gym” where equipment use vibrations, hydrotherapy and bioresonance to help them feel “recharged”. He also sells the machines. Those who need to see a doctor will be referred to doctors in other clinics, he said. Mr Manoharan has just signed a new lease with Novena Medical Centre using another doctor’s name. He said: “Dr Koh decided to withdraw his name.”

The New Paper spoke to six visitors to Novena Medical Centre and all said that it was misleading to have doctors’ names on websites or nameboards of clinics if they did not practise there. Said Mr John Koh, 52, a business consultant: “Having the doctor’s name on the nameboard gave me the impression that the doctor works there and it’s a medical outfit.”

MOH says:

ANYONE who wants to be a licensee of a clinic must be approved by MOH in line with the conditions under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act, said a Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesman. However, the manager of a medical clinic must be a registered medical practitioner. Doctors who lend their names to endorse non-medical entities may be breaching the Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines of the Singapore Medical Council (SMC), the spokesman said. 

She added that MOH is looking into the two cases at Novena Medical Centre. An SMC spokesman said doctors are required to adhere to the code and guidelines. “Failure to comply with the guidelines may result in disciplinary action,” she said. 

Square 2 says:

The New Paper asked Square 2 if the owners of the two units in question were aware their units were not being used strictly as medical or dental clinics. A spokesman said: “The owners have confirmed the names of the practising doctors in a letter of confirmation.” When told that confirming the doctors’ names does not mean that they are practising there, the spokesman declined to comment.

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