A DOCTOR has been suspended for four months and fined $5,000 for professional misconduct by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).

Dr Chua Boon Ling, 43, from the Simon Road Family Clinic, was convicted on nine charges for failure to exercise due care in prescribing benzodiazepines and medication containing codeine. The general practitioner had inappropriately prescribed the drugs to nine patients over a period of three years.

Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs commonly prescribed for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety. Codeine is an opiate that provides pain relief. Prolonged use of either can lead to addiction.

The disciplinary committee of the SMC found that Dr Chua had failed to properly document the patients' diagnoses, symptoms or conditions during treatment. He also failed to refer the patients to medical specialists or psychiatrists for further management.

It was noted by the disciplinary committee that such a failure to refer was 'inappropriate and unprofessional'.

There were a total of 14 charges filed initially, all of which were contested by Dr Chua. Five were eventually dropped as they could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Doc suspended for misconduct