DoctorxDentist to delist doctors after clash with Singapore Medical Association

ONLINE platform DoctorxDentist, following days of intense back and forth with the Singapore Medical Association (SMA), said it will now remove the listings of doctors who have requested to have their profiles taken down from the website.

The startup recently got into a dispute with the SMA after some association members complained that the company refused to take down their profiles despite requests to do so, The Business Times (BT) reported last week. In response, SMA began collating a list of doctors who did not want to be associated with the platform, to be made public on the SMA website.

DoctorxDentist publishes reviews of medical practitioners and healthcare-related content. It also lets users book appointments with doctors through their website, though it has since come to light that many doctors had not consented to accepting appointments through this channel.

A group of doctors had threatened to sue the startup over concerns such as being unwillingly listed on the platform and copyright issues, BT reported.

In an update on its website on the evening of Nov 7, DoctorxDentist said the relevant doctors will be delisted while it works towards an amicable resolution with SMA.

"While we continue to firmly believe in improving the patient healthcare process with knowledge about their doctors, we would also like to respect the wishes of the various bodies pending further discussions," it said.

In justifying its refusal to delist doctors, DoctorxDentist had told SMA on Nov 6 that it was advised by a team of lawyers familiar with regulatory guidelines to list all medical practitioners in the Singapore Medical Council directory. This was to ensure an unbiased and comprehensive listing for its readers, it said.

In an emailed response, SMA shot back that medical practitioners should have the autonomy to associate or dissociate with an organisation. The association said it will proceed with publishing the list of doctors it has collated, unless DoctorxDentist removes the doctors' information from its website.

It said it would agree to meet virtually with the company only if officers from the Ministry of Health attend as well and provide the ministry's views on the matter.