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Conflict of interest in national dental matter? Report filed with CPIB

The Singapore dental fraternity is up in arms over the possibility of a conflict of interest in relation to the introduction of certificate of competencies and restriction framework for dentists who are general practitioners.

It is understood that a report with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau has also been filed over the matter. No other details are available about this report.

This latest development comes at the back of a previous story which illustrated how the dental fraternity had asked for a Special General Meeting to be convened by the Singapore Dental Association (SDA) over the issue of Certificate of Competencies and restriction of framework involving the general practitioners.

Over the last week, more information has started to flow through which gives a better inkling of the issue at hand.

At the core of what the fraternity seems to be upset about is the lack of information flowing through which could affect livelihoods, and further elevated costs for members of the public.

What has also surfaced is the potential conflict of interest involving a key official at the Singapore Dental Council (SDC).

The President of the SDC Chew Chong Lin is an independent director of Aoxin Q&M, which is listed in Singapore and is linked to Q&M dental group, which is also listed.

This is significant because one of the reasons there is a body of unhappy dentists is over the fact that Q&M dental group has been at the forefront of all the changes being introduced by the SDC over the certificate of competencies and restriction framework.

For example, even before the general dental body or its members approve of any changes to the way dentistry is practiced in Singapore, especially over the COC, Q&M dental group has started making announcements over how it was planning to start a dental college and provide post-graduate dental courses for dentists in Singapore.

In a report in Philips Capital in November, it was stated that Q&M had potential new business in education.

This was even before any changes had been agreed upon and approved by SDC, SDA or even the dentists.

The Philips Capital report even mentions how the Ministry of Health was intending to release ‘new regulation’ in 1-2 years to require dentists practising aesthetic procedures to obtain a “Certificate of Competency” and that Q&M is positioning themselves to be accredited as a teaching college.

Q&M dental group also made an announcement through the Straits Times on 2 May that it was forming the first dental college in Singapore to provide additional training for post-graduate students.

With the Special General Meeting at the SDA slated to take place on Sunday at the Raffles Town Club, dentists are expected to raise this issue of conflict of interest and also if the SDA had acted in the interests of the dental fraternity over this matter of the COC and restriction framework.