Non-doctor members needed on Medical Council to minimize complaints against medical staff

Bangkok – Foundation for Consumers today (17 August 2016) organized a talk “Why we need non-doctor members on the Medical Council of Thailand”.   Indah Suksmaningsih,   from Indonesian consumer organization Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Indonesia, has shared with the audience her experience as a member of the Indonesia Medical Council.  

590817_newswhydocterindaMs. Suksmaningsih said Indonesian Medical Council takes after the tribunal system used in England.  The three parties involved are professional doctors, doctors with legal background, and lawyers.  A specific number of non-doctors are elected by the president of each Indonesian state.

“Indonesia Medical Council was founded in 2004 to resolve issues between doctors and patients.  The council takes a role of a negotiator to make sure that the matter is handled fairly for both sides.  When there is a mistreatment or misconduct that leads to damages or loss, the doctor responsible will have his/her license revoked immediately.  The doctor will have to attend more medical trainings before he/she can get his/her license back.   Most of the time, disputes are very frustrating for patients because doctors never take the time to explain to them about what really happened.  The Medical Council talks to the patients and their families about these details.  However, if the complaint lodgers are not satisfied with the result, they can take the matter to court.”

She added that in Indonesia doctors provide financial support the council to have people who are non-doctors joining the committee.  These doctors want to make sure that patients are treated fairly when they face problems from medical services.

“Tribunal system does not prevent patients from going to court to seek justice.  If patients feel they are getting sub-standard services or experiencing unethical actions by doctors, they can choose to file a complaint at a medical association or come to the Medical Council.  This is a good consumer protection system where Indonesians have choices.  The government has chosen the system with a group of non-doctors working in the Medical Council.  I believe this system is closest to justice.”

Saree Aongsomwang, secretary general of Foundation for Consumers, said having someone else other than doctors on the council will certainly increase the Medical Council’s credibility.

Suwanna Jitprapat, member of the National Press Council of Thailand, said Thailand may be different from Indonesia because there are many private hospitals.

“However, it is worth considering.  Probably it’s time Thai law took us to the point where professional organizations cannot consider matters without a perspective from consumers who are fully affected by the result of that consideration.  Patients should have the opportunity to take part in hearing and deciding cases filed with the Medical Council.”

By Sasiwan Parinyart