‘Get your MC or get a refund’: Little India clinic under investigation for issuing MC without consultation

MOH investigating Medstar Medical Clinic & Surgery for issuing MC without proper consultation

The health ministry is investigating a clinic in Little India for allegedly issuing medical certificates (MC) without carrying out audio or video consultations.

The clinic had also advertised that patients would be able to receive an MC in five minutes for S$5.99.

Source: Medstar Medical Clinic & Surgery on Facebook

A medical practitioner who issued MCs through such ‘consultations’ has been referred to the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) for investigations.

Little India clinic allegedly issues MC after patients fill in text-based questionnaire

On Friday (23 Feb), the Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a press release stating that they’ve commenced investigations into Medstar Medical Clinic & Surgery (Medstar), located along Serangoon Road in Little India.

Source: Google Maps

The health ministry said it received information that a telemedicine service named PocketCare had advertised on Instagram and its website that patients would be able to obtain an MC through them in five minutes for S$5.99, with no video consultation required.

MOH further revealed that PocketCare is provided by Medstar.

Preliminary investigations show that the clinic had been providing consultations through a “self-service text-based questionnaire”.

The clinic subsequently issued MCs without audio and video interaction with the patients.

MOH pointed out that patients do not have “real-time two-way engagements” with a doctor through such a survey.

Therefore, there’s no way for a doctor to verify potentially false or inaccurate responses given by the patient.

In addition, patients who require a proper consultation may not receive the appropriate medical attention needed to manage their conditions.

MOH said the manner of consultation provided through PocketCare could be a breach of the Healthcare Services (Outpatient Medical Service) Regulations 2023.

Among other guidelines, the Regulations state that clinics licensed under the Healthcare Services Act should ensure there are “real-time two-way interactive audiovisual communications” when providing remote outpatient medical services to first-time patients.

MOH is also investigating whether the statement “Get Your MC or Get a Refund” on PocketCare’s website contravenes the Healthcare Services (Advertisement) Regulations 2021.

Even though PocketCare’s website seems to be under maintenance at the time of this article, the phrase can be found on a cached version of the site.

Source: A cached version of PocketCare.sg

Doctor at clinic referred to Singapore Medical Council

To protect patients’ interests, MOH has issued a notice to Medstar stating the Director-General of Health Kenneth Mak’s intention to carry out regulatory actions.

This includes suspending Medstar’s remote consultation services for three months and requiring the clinic to rectify consultation services so they’re in line with prevailing guidelines.

MOH has also referred Dr Viknesh Shanmugam — the medical practitioner at Medstar who issued MCs through the consultations — to SMC for potential breaches of the council’s Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines.

Also read: Staff Should Report Employers Who Demand MC For Mild Covid-19, MOM Will Take Action

Staff Should Report Employers Who Demand MC For Mild Covid-19, MOM Will Take Action

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Featured image adapted from Medstar Medical Clinic & Surgery on Facebook.

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