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Correspondence: K Q Yeo
The complex legal relationships between hospitals, doctors and paramedical staff lead to issues which the court will find difficult to resolve. However, certain trends have emerged in modern medicine: 1) There is a need to provide competent care based on a national standard. 2) Competent care is no longer predicated on 'locality rules'. The state has to intervene with statutes and regulations to ensure that a 'standard' of practice is established in hospitals. 3) The hospital has both a vicarious as well as an inherent duty of care (corporate obligation) to its patients. 4) The statutory regulations result in doctors being involved directly in setting of standards. This brings a separate liability upon the doctors independent of their professional liability. 5) There is a demand not only for establishing initial standards of care, but for continuous monitoring of these standards and proactive measures to ensure that they are updated.
Singapore Med J 2000; 41(2): 94-96