Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association

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Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association (SCPA) Development Overview
 

Introduction
 

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated from  the ancient Chinese study of human life, health and disease and has had thousands of years of history, stemming from long experience and practical implementation, forming  an important part of CHinese culture and tradition. In the eyes of the Chinese population, TCM occupies a very significant  and important position, and the main impetus for promoting TCM comes mainly from civil society organizations.

In the recent decade or so, the Singapore TCM academic and clinical research has made considerable progress in the prevention and treatment of diseases and improving patients' quality of life and has received much praise and support from members of the general public, prompting the government to place more  emphasis on the value of TCM and the review of TCM policies. In November 2000, the Singapore parliament passed the "TCM Physicians Bill", followed by the setting up a TCM Management Committee by Ministry of Health, establishing the legal status of TCM in Singapore,marking a new page in the history of local TCM.

The legislation of TCM in Singapore was made possible by the combined efforts of the local TCM medical institutions and organisations,  particularly the Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association, which played an important role in the development process. The development of Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association is a reflection of the development of TCM in Singapore.


 

The Establishment of Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association

At the end of World War 2, a group of local TCM physicians realised that, in a country with a population of a million people, it was important to establish an organization to make contact with the people of the Traditional Chinese medical circles and to engage in promoting, studying and reforming TCM. On 18th August 1946, several local Chinese physicians including You Xing Nan (Yew Hen Nam) and Zeng Zhi Yuan (Chan Chi Yen), under the leadership of famous Xiamen (Amoy) physician Wu Rui Fu (Wu Xi Huang) (then residing in Singapore), and with the response and assistance from Zeng He Sheng, Chen Zhan Wei (Chin Chan Wei), Chen Rui Tang, Fang Zhan Lun and Huang Shao Yu, held the first preparatory forum at Singapore Shang Hang Clan Association. There were a total of 23 attendants on that day. Besides the above-mentioned eight persons present, other attendees included Huang Wen Xian, Yang Yi Feng, Wu Long Fei, Liao Pei Ru, Rao Shi Quan (Ngeow Sze Chan), Xu Yun Zhi, Zhong Hui Wo, Chen Jian Ji, Deng Song Ru, Luo Xiao Chuan, Huang Shao Wen, Chen Xue Qiao, Chen Qing Yuan (Tan Kheng Guan), Hong Wei Tang and You Hong Nan (Yew Hong Nam). The attendees passed a motion and set up the "Singapore Chinese Medical Society", with Wu Rui Fu elected as the chairman.
      
After two months of preparation, the Singapore Chinese Medical Society held the inaugural general meeting on the 27th of October. This was the foundation of the local TCM cause. The Singapore Chinese Medical Society set up the following objectives:

1. To expound and propagate Traditional Chinese Medical principles, study worldwide medical expertise, and combine and integrate the best practices.

2. To form a community of support and academic network to encourage joint research and improve TCM treatment techniques.


At the second general meeting in 1947, the Singapore Chinese Medical Society, under the legal regulations concerning the names of the Chinese physicians' organizations issued by the Chinese government at that time, was officially renamed as "Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association". The establishment of the Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association united all local TCM physicians and boosted the strength of TCM progress in Singapore. Not long after establishment, the association set up a unified goal for all physicians, and actively engaged in research activities. "Medical Snippets", "Medical Commission",  "Medical values" and other TCM columns were also regularly published in the "Nanyang Siang Pau", "Booming Times" and "Sin Chew Daily" and other newspapers during this period, promoting TCM.

When Korean War ended, the economy was in a downturn and poverty was widespread. Government hospitals were over-crowded and unable to meet the local demands. In 1952, the Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association (SCPA) answered the call and jumped to the need of the sick and poor. SCPA established the "Zhong Hua Shi Zhen Suo", borrowing the facilities of the Chung Shan Wui Koon. It was agreed that a permanent location for the charity clinic was essential and two years later, in 1956,  after much preparation and fund-raising, the association finally moved into its own premises at 3rd storey, No. 202 Telok Ayer Street (presently the Telok Ayer Chung Hwa Free Clinic). At the same time, "Zhong Hua Shi Zhen Suo" was officially renamed as "Chung Hwa Free Clinic".

In 1961, thanks to the enthusiastic support by the philanthopist Mr Lan Zeng Qiang who unconditionally donated two shophouses at 233-235 Serangoon Road to SCPA, the first branch was set up, which was named "Chung Hwa Medical Institution--First Branch". In 1967, the then Health minister Mr Yong Nyuk Lin announced that from 1968 onwards, as part of the Annual Budget,  Chung Hwa Medical Institution would be awarded a symbolic sum of money. Since then to this day, Chung Hwa Medical Institution has received five thousand dollars annually from the Singapore Ministry of Health as donation. The government's decision greatly encourage the SCPA, and the general public's enthusiasm was also roused by this generous act, and they continued to support SCPA and Chung Hwa Medical Institution through generous donations. In the same year, SCPA decided to open a second branch in the densely populated Geylang area.

When the charitable work by Chung Hwa Medical Institution was warmly welcomed and supported by the public, SCPA decided to open a hospital in order to provide even more charitable services. After many setbacks, in 1970, the government finally allocated an plot of land in Toa Payoh for the construction of an inpatient hospital. SCPA was greatly encouraged and was determined to make the fund-raising a success and the "Toa Payoh Chung Hwa Medical Institution Fund Raising Committee" was set up, led by the Ministry of Social Affairs' Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Chen Zhicheng. For a time, there was enthusiastic response from people from all walks life, generating great interest in all things TCM, and people who cared about the" Chung Hwa Inpatient Hospital" participated in all kinds of fund-raising activities, such as free shows, charity musicals, charity sales, charity walks and runs, donations, charity auctions etc etc, one after another. The full swing of the fund-raising campaign lasted for more than three years, and raised a total of over five million dollars. It can be said that this was a historically unprecedented feat in Singapore TCM history, and one that is truly memorable. In 1979, Chung Hwa Medical Institution was inaugurated  by the then Minister of Labour and SCPA advisor Mr Ong Pang Boon, and the ceremony was attended by many dignitaries, and local and foreign guests, making it an unprecedented event.


Due to practical reasons, Chung Hwa Medical Institution was not able to set up an inpatient hospital according to the original plans, and could only set up an outpatient department. The medical institution, training college, acupuncture research institute, library, museum, herbal department and laboratories were all housed under one roof. As a result of urban planning, the first branch of  Chung Hwa Medical Institution in Telok Ayer was closed on 1st November 1986, and on 30th June 1994, the second branch of Chung Hwa Medical Institution was also closed.

In order to expand its community services, SCPA, set up another branch in the North, in an effort to reach out to even more members of society and provide more convenience to patients. Following discussions with the SCPA advisors, officials from the Ministry of Law and Finance, and with the aid of Sembawang GRC Member of Parliament Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, approval was obtained in May 1994 to build a clinic at the void deck of Block 215 of Yishun Street 21, with an area of about 470 square meters. On 6th May 1995, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee officiated the ground breaking opening of the Yishun Chung Hwa Medical Institution, and after five months of renovation, the clinic started seeing patients on 2nd October 1995 and on 25th August 1996, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee was once again invited to host the opening ceremony.

On 14th November 1999, SCPA advisor and Sembawang GRC MP, Associate Professor Chen De Yong was invited to the ground breaking ceremony at the void deck of Block 679 Woodlands Avenue 6. Woodlands Chung Hwa Medical Institution was the fourth branch and started operations on 11th April 2000. From January 2002, it had a fully computerised system. In the same year, it was awarded the ISO9001:2000 quality management system certificate, ensuring that Chung Hwa Medical Institution would continue to provide the highest level of medical service. In 2005, the first specialist clinic was set up within the Changi General Hospital. In 2009, Chung Hwa Medical Institution set up another branch in Ren Ci Community Hospital, the Novena Branch of Chung Hwa Medical Institution. The Novena Chung Hwa Medical Institution officially opened on 20th March 2010, and the Law Minister and Senior Interior Minister Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee was invited as the Guest of Honour.

Due to the rapid expansion of the Chung Hwa Medical Institution and Singapore Chinese Physicians' Training College, the demand for more space exceeded supply.After discussions between the two organisations, Toa Payoh Chung Hwa Medical Institution was commissioned to renovate and expand once again, this time converting the roof into two auditoriums, adding a laboratory and increasing total built-in area, costing a total of $15 million. Renovations was planned to complete by the end of 2001. In the 59 years since its establishment, Chung Hwa Medical Institution has always been a  subsidiary of SCPA. According to the Ministry of Health regulations, a committee was set up to facilitate the registration of Chung Hwa Medical Institution, and since then, (a) it was registered to become an independent public company with limited liability on 20th April 2011, Company No: 201109599Z, (b) on 11th May 2011, Chung Hwa Medical Institution was registered as a charity, with charity registration number and unique entity number UEN NO:201109599Z, (c) on 23rd May 2011, the Ministry of Health approved the Independent Public Company (IPC) status (number: IPC000726,with effect between:23/5/2011-22/5/2012), (d) Ministry of Health also approved the establishment of an inaugural Board of DIrectors by the Board of Directors of SCPA, for a term lasting until April 2012. After than, the Board of Directors of Chung Hwa Medical Institution would have to act according to the Charities Act, and at least half of the Board concerning the IPC would have to be made up of independent directors.


Establishment of Singapore College Traditional Chinese Medicine

When Singapore was still a British colony, TCM physicians who had migrated to Singapore from China were offering medical treatment to the local Chinese population. However, as a result of the new immigration ordinance issued by the British colonial government, the TCM physicians coming from southern China started to decrease day by day. The Singapore TCM community faced the lack of successors. The executive committee of SCPA determined that the "Chung Hwa Free Clinic" was an ideal place to train TCM successors in Singapore. In order to uphold TCM standards in SIngapore and Malaysia, SCPA began preparations to set up a TCM school. After three months of preparation, enrollment started and lessons began on 11th January 1953, with 30 students. Subsequently, the college applied to Ministry of Education for registration.  The name "Chinese Physicians' Training School" was officially changed to "Singapore Chinese Physicians' Training College" in 1976.

In step with changing times, the SCPA set up the Singapore College Traditional Chinese Medicine (SCTCM) Registration Preparation Committee, in preparation of registering with the Society Registration Board. The preparation committee was led by Dr Teo Eng Kiat as the chairman, Dr Huang Jing Fu as the secretary, Dr Huang Cheng Ren as the treasurer, and the committee members included Professor Chen Bi Lian, Dr Tang You Chen, Dr Lin Yao Hua, Dr Lin Guang Ming, Dr Xie Qi Sheng and Dr Swee Yong Peng etc. After repeated discussions with legal advisor Mr Zhu Shi Sheng, the "Singapore College Traditional Chinese Medicine Charter" was prepared. After it was approved by the SCPA Board, it was submitted to the Society Registration Board and was approved by the Board on 4th May 2006. 

Fifty-three years after the establishment of Singapore Chinese Physicians' Training College, it was officially registered with the name "Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine". After the official registration, "Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine was managed by the Board of Directors.

The first Board of directors meeting: Chairman: Professor Chen Bi Lian, Vice-Chairman: Dr Teo Eng Kiat, Secretary: Dr Huang Jing Fu, Treasurer: Dr Wu Zai Chi, and Board members included: Dr Lin Guang Ming, Dr Ang Liang, Dr Swee Yong Peng, Dr Huang Ji Wei, Dr Huang Zhang Yan, Dr Du Hui Sheng and legal counsel Wang Shen Hao.

The second Board of directors (2008-2009) of the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Chairman: Dr Cheng Sim Kim, Vice-Chairman: Professor Teo Eng Kiat, Secretary: Dr Feng Zeng Yi, Treasurer: Dr Lin Guang Ming, and Board members included: Dr Huang Cheng Ren, Dr Liu Shao Fu, Dr Swee Yong Peng, Dr Lin Yao Hua, Dr Coral Teng, Dr Wang Lian Sheng, Dr Chen Tian Shun, Dr Chen Nan Xing.

The third Board of directors (2010-2011) of the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Chairman: Dr Chen Zhong Jing, Vice-Chairman: Professor Teo Eng Kiat, Secretary: Dr Feng Zeng Yi, Treasurer: Dr Huang Chen Ren and Board members included: Dr Coral Teng, Dr Lin Guang Ming, Dr Liu Shan Fu, Dr Swee Yong Peng, Dr Lin Yao Hua, Dr Wang Lian Sheng, Dr Chen Nan Xing, Dr Huang Ji Wei.

The Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine was awarded ISO9001:2008 Quality Management Certificate, certificate number: QAIC/SG/509-A.

In 2009, according to the rules set by the Ministry of Education, the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine was required to register with the Private Education Board, and registration was approved on 4th March 2011, with a validity of four years. Registration number (UEN): T06SS0087F. The registration certificate must be renewed before the xpiration date. In 2011, approved college courses included: Advanced Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bachelor Degree Course in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Graduate Diploma in Acupuncture (only applicable to Singapore Registered Medical or Dental Practitioners) and Certificate OF TCM Nursing Course. 


Establishment of Medical Research Institute and Acupuncture Research Institute

The SCPA allows TCM physicians to keep in contact and network with other colleagues and promotes joint medical research and improves TCM treatment efficacy. on September 20, 1959, the SCPA Council resolved to set up a "Drug Research Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine" (later renamed the "Chung Hwa Research Institute").  In the seventies, there was great interest in the research and use of acupuncture, and there was a worldwide boom in the use of acupuncture. However, there were many quacks that surfaced, calling themselves "Masters of Acupuncture" and in an effort to clamp down on these serious breaches of TCM integrity, the SCPA decided to set up the Singapore Acupuncture Research Organisation. To the outside world, it would be an official point of contact and representative, and to the internal community, it would promote the legal and official research and development of acupuncture, In 1978, the  "Chung Hwa Acupuncture Research Institute" was officially established and actively recruited new members and conducted extensive research activities.
 
July 25, 1999. Chung Hwa Acupuncture Research Institute hosted the first Singapore Academy of  Acupuncture, dedicated to local and Malaysian TCM physicians. The event was held on the third floor of the Chung Hwa Medical Institution, and was fully attended, with a total of 20 keynote speeches. With all the attendees gathered in one location to exchange views on clinical acupuncture and massotherapy, in the hopes of raising the standards of acupuncture and massotherapy. The "Singapore-Taiwan Acupuncture Expert Lectures" were held on 3rd May 2009 and more than 500 attendees gathered to listen to lectures about acupuncture.


In 2001, Chung Hwa Medical Research Institute began organising the herbs in the Chung Hwa Herbal Garden, and compiled a total of 140 herbs and published the "Illustrated Color Atlas of Medicinal Plants", to raise public awareness of Chinese herbal medicine. In 2007, with the persistent efforts  of the Chung Hwa Medical Research Institute, "An Illustrated Discussion of 155 herbs from The Golden Chamber", was published and was well received by readers. In August 2010, following requests from TCM physicians, the Chung Hwa Medical Research Institute organised a series of talks titled "A Discussion of the combined use of drugs and Chinese prescription mixtures", and Principal Huang Huai De was the invited speaker. of the talks, which lasted until December 2011.

Promoting regional academic research, and dedication to public education

In the sixty years since the establishment of the SCPA, in order to raise the TCM physician standards and expertise, the SCPA Council's policy focusses on the treatment efficacy of TCM services, different initiatives to promote academic research and educate the general public in their knowledge of TCM. Since 1995, the SPCA has published a number of publications,  including: "Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association Newsletter" and "Singapore  Traditional Chinese Medicine Magazine".

(i) Improving external relations

SCPA has sent many representatives to attend international or regional seminars  in TCM, give keynote speeches on TCM topics, and participate in overseas study tours in order to expand its outreach, broaden the members' horizons. SCPA also regularly invites foreign TCM experts and scholars of TCM for academic exchanges, including lectures, clinical training, seminars and lectures.

In 2000, the Chung Hwa Acupuncture Research Institute, a subsidiary of the SCPA, was elected as the main organiser for the "World Acupuncture 2001 International Symposium", which is a widely-attended international event supported by the World Health Organisation and SIngapore Ministry of Health. The event was held between December 7th-9th, 2001 at the  Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre, and its theme was "A New Century In International Acupuncture Research, Education and Clinical Experience". The speakers were acupuncture experts from all over the world who shared their experience and latest discoveries and research. The successful organisation of this event by SCPA once again demonstrated the close ties between SCPA and other international organisations, which serve the common cause of promoting TCM to the world.

On 27-28th October 2004, the World Federation of Acupuncture held its General Meeting in Gold Coast, Australia and the SCPA Chairman Professor Chen Bi Lian was elected as a the Asian executive member. At the elections in 2009, the SCPA deputy Treasurer Professor Liu Jia Yang was elected as the Asian Zone Vice-Chairman, and the Dean of the Chung Hwa Acupuncture Research Institute was elected as an executive members.

On 22nd April 2011, with World Federation of Acupuncture as the host and SCPA as the co-host, the first stop of the "World Acupuncture Magazine" society's "Global Tour of Acupuncture" was held at the third floor Grand Hall of the Quality Hotel in Singapore. The symposium was named "Acupuncture Practical Technology"  seminars, and specially invited experts included, expert in acupuncture and moxibustion Professor Wang Lingling, ear acupuncture expert Professor Jia Chunsheng, tongue acupuncture expert Professor Sun Jieguang , fire acupuncture expert Chairman He Lin, as well as acupoint expert Professor Shi Xian. The Chung Hwa Acupuncture Research Institute was responsible for co-ordinating the event and the committee members intend to distribute the seminar materials to ASEAN neighbours, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Total number of attendees for the event was more than 400 people.

In 2003, international TCM colleagues proposed the establishment of a worldwide TCM academic organisation named "World Union of Traditional Chinese Medicine Societies" . The SCPA actively participated in the preparation, and on 24-26th September 2003, the World Union of Traditional Chinese Medicine Societies organised its inaugural meeting in Beijing, and the Vice-minister of the Chinese Ministry of Health and Head of the National TCM Regulations Board Professor Yu Jing was elected as the chairman. The SCPA representative, Honorary Professor Liang Shu Hai, was elected as a member of the Senior Expert Advisory Board, and Dr Teo Eng Kiat was elected as the executive director. On 14th November 2004, after approval of the ASEAN TCM Organisations, the "World Union" board officially appointed Dr Teo Eng Kiat as its Vice-Chairman.

The World TCM Association's aims include the promotion of TCM into the national mainstream health care system, and promotion increased exchanges between TCM and other forms of medicine. On 24-25th June 2006, the principal of the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Dr Teo Eng Kiat, represented the SCPA as the event chairman at the 2006 World Union of Traditional Chinese Medicine Societies General Meeting, where he proposed the organisation of  the "2007 Fourth International Conference on Traditional Chinese Medicine ", and obtained strong support from the participants. On October 16th, 2006 SCPA Chairman Professor Chen Bilian  physician, accompanied by Dr Teo Eng Kiat and Dr Huang Cheng Ren,  went to Beijing to sign the memorandum. The conference was held between 17-19th November 2007 at the Suntec Convention Centre, and Health Minister Mr Khaw Boon Wan presided at the opening ceremony, and the event was attended by more than a thousand people. The second General Meeting was also held during this time.

(ii) Organising the ASEAN and the International Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine

ASEAN as a whole, with friendly relations between nations, exists a good foundation of political, economic  and cultural ties between the various countries. The organisation of the ASEAN Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine to increase academic exchanges between the ASEAN countries is beneficial for the future development of TCM, as well as raising national health care levels and quality of life. On the 25 and 26th of June 1983, the inaugural ASEAN Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine was held in Singapore, with TCM consultant and academic advisor Professor Jiang Runxiang from the United Nations World Health Organization, officiating at the opening ceremony. More than 700 participants took part in it, and 54 key-note speeches were made. Subsequently, the ASEAN Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine was held alternately at member states. The secretariat of the ASEAN Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine was established at the SCPA.

In September 2003, Honorary Professor Liang Shi Hai led a team of 24 representatives to Jakarta, Indonesia, to attend the 7th ASEAN Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine. In 2006, the SCPA Chairman Professor Chen Bi Lian led a team of 22 representatives to Surabaya, Indonesia, to attend the 8th ASEAN Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine. In 2009, SCPA Chairman, Dr Wong Chin Nai PBM, between 31st OCtober and 1st November, led a team of 20 representatives to Kuala Lumpur, to attend the 9th ASEAN Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine. The 10th ASEAN Academic Conference of Chinese Medicine, following the Assembly meeting, Singapore was chosen as the organisers.


(iii)Organising Refresher Courses and Seminars

In order to provide members the opportunity to revise and refresh their memory, the Chung Hwa Medical Institution, Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chung Hwa Medical Research Institute, Chung Hwa Acupuncture Research Institute, regularly conduct TCM refresher courses and seminars for members to upgrade themselves. In particular, the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine's Continued Education Learning Centre has systematically created a lecture series for SCPA members to self-study and upgrade themselves.  In order to improve the general public's understanding of TCM, SCPA also regularly organises public lectures, and accepts invitations from community centres, resident committees, neighborhood organizations to appoint physicians to speak to their members about TCM. In addition, SCPA is frequently invited by the media, including newspapers, television and radio programs to answer the public's questions on TCM and health issues, and hence raising the public's knowledge and understanding of TCM and Chinese prepared medications, to ensure the safety and efficacy of medication.
 

(iv) Collaboration with other TCM organisations to form the Coordination Committee

In March 1994, the then Health Minister Brigadier-General George Yeo announced in Parliament that the Ministry of Health was going to set up an internal committee to help re-structure the local TCM community. Subsequently, through the use of newspaper publications, local TCM organisations were encouraged to jointly set up a "Joint Committee on Traditional Chinese Medicine", with the intention of having discussions with the Ministry of Health on how to improve the level of TCM expertise at a later stage. As a response to the Ministry of Heath's request, the SCPA organized several discussions with all the local TCM organisations in Singapore, after which, on 4th December 1994, the "Singapore Joint Committee on Traditional Chinese Medicine" (abbreviated as "Coordination Committee") was set up, with a mission to promote,  strengthen and encourage the TCM community across the country by establishing a closer relationships through mutual coordination, cooperation and understanding, and where necessary, to contact and dialogue with relevant government departments, while promoting TCM and the standardization of professional TCM training.

Following the establishment of the Coordination Committee, the secretariat was set up at SCPA, with the then Association Chairman Dr Liang Shi Hai conducting the daily activities. Several of the SCPA members actively participated and helped out in different duties, such as drafting the "Singapore Joint Committee on Traditional Chinese Medicine Draft Constitution", participating in and drafting the "Singapore Traditional Chinese Medicine Education Guidelines Memorandum", drafting of rules and provisions of professional ethics, developing the "Singapore Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Regulations And Professional Ethics",  publishing the "List of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Singapore" and so on.

The  Coordination Committee acted as the bridge between the TCM community and Ministry of Health and actively reflected the voice of TCM. During the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak period, in the interests of the Singaporean people, the committee actively co-operated with the Ministry of Health in providing the TCM community and TCM healthcare providers with the necessary equipment in accordance to the SARS and H1N1 prevention protocols. 

(v) Actively promoting the registration of acupuncturists and TCM physicians
    
In March 1998, the then Education Minister and Senior Minister of Ministry of Health, Dr Aline Wong announced: Ministry of Health will follow the recommendations of the Coordination Committee to set up a registration process for Singapore acupuncturists starting from 2000, and with effect from 2002, set up a registration process for Singapore TCM physicians. In the interim period, acupuncturists and TCM physicians with the qualifications and experience may be partially or completely exempted from the registration exams. In addition, the Ministry of Health will also assist in formulating a set of training guidelines and arranging the registration examinations.


In July 1998, the Ministry of Health set up a Acupuncture Curriculum and Syllabus Review committee, with the then Dean of Medicine of Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Dr. Teo Eng Kiat being appointed as Chairman of the committee. Ministry of Health authorized the Committee to organize, plan and implement the work  of acupuncture courses  in Singapore, and with the assistance from Chinese expert, developed the "Singapore acupuncture curriculum and syllabus", to be studied by entrants to the unified acupuncture examinations in order to achieve the specified registration standards.

In December 1999, the Ministry of Health announced "TCM Physicians and Acupuncturists Registration Guidelines".  In the process of creating the registration guidelines, the Ministry of Health worked very closely with the Singapore TCM coordination Committee. During their discussions, the Ministry of Health accepted some of the suggestions and allowed the transition policy to retain some degree of flexibility, which was welcomed by the TCM community.

The Ministry of Health proceeded to set up the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (TCMPB), with the then president Dr Liang Shi Hai, and the Dean of Medicine Dr. Teo Eng Kiat being appointed as members of the committee. The Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board subsidiary also set up an examinations group, qualifications group and regulations groups, chaired respectively by SCPA Council members Dr. Teo Eng Kiat, Physician Ang Liang and Physician Cheng Sim Kim. During the transition period of registration for acupuncturists and TCM physicians ended at the end of 2003, and from 2004, only acupuncturists or TCM physicians registered with the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board were allowed to practice legally.

From 3rd February 2007 onwards, honorary director Dr Cheng Sim Kim and Dean of Medicine of Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Dr. Teo Eng Kiat were again appointed as the TCMPB Board members, and the Head of Chung Hwa Medical Institution Dr Ang Liang was appointed as the committee member of the inaugural TCMPB. The contributions made by the SCPA to Singapore's TCM community and progress of TCM in Singapore, as well as the talent training, maintaining and improving the image of TCM  are undeniable.    


Conclusion

Since the founding of the SCPA, members have continued to work hard to build a solid foundation for the development, promote TCM and the cooperation and exchange between local, regional and international TCM communities, which has been invaluable to the progress of TCM in Singapore in reaching the international arena. The subsidiaries of the SCPA have also worked very closely under the banner of the Association to build an integrated medical institution, training college and research institutes. The Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine curriculum has reached the international standards of other world-class education institutes, and in addition to the Advanced Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Bachelor Degree Course in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it also offers MAsters and Doctorate degrees. In the course of providing TCM healthcare to the public, Chung Hwa Medical Institution is also a training facility for the TCM students and the research grounds of the Chung Hwa Medical Research Institute and Chung Hwa Acupuncture Research Institute.

The legislation of TCM in Singapore was a turning point in TCM history, and the SCPA will continue to evolve with the new regulations and policies to cope with the increasing international competition, and with the existing resources, gain more recognition and support from the government in order to set up a modernised and up-to-date concept of TCM healthcare, education and research.


Addreee:640 Lor 4 Toa Payoh Singapore 319522
Telephone:65-6251 3304
Fax:65-6254 0037
Email: assoc@singaporetcm.com

 

 

 

 

 

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