By Ng Shu Yi, Optometrist, International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, Singapore

Dr Peter Loke Chi Wei, Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, gave a lecture on “Understanding Your Medicolegal Risk to Minimise and Master it” at the Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS) 2018 held from 18-19 July at One Farrer Hotel.

The Optometrists & Opticians Act (OOA) was passed in July 2007 by the Parliament of Singapore to regulate the practice of optometry and opticianry. It ensures that primary eye care professionals are properly trained and qualified to provide eye care services to members of the public. Since 1 January 2008, all practising optometrists and opticians have to be registered with the Optometrists & Opticians Board (OOB) and to comply with the OOA, its subsidiary legislations, Code of Professional Conduct and Professional Practice Guidelines.

Studies have shown that the vast majority of the medicolegal complaints and cases are not due to medical professionals’ negligence. Instead, most are due to insensitivity in handling complaints and poor communication, especially when the outcome is undesirable. Dr Loke emphasized the importance of good communication as the key to patients’ or customers’ satisfaction and expectations. All eye care practitioners should address any unrealistic expectations and aim to achieve realistic goals in order to have happy and satisfied patients or customers.

During his lecture, Dr Loke also gave practical tips on how to communicate better in order to strengthen the eye care professional-patient relationship.

Dr Loke concluded his lecture by emphasizing that primary eye care professionals should work within their professional regulations or risk being fined or suspended from practice should they be found guilty of professional misconduct.