Career options, incentives for doctors to return to Singapore

Mr Kenny Ching Hwee Seong asked if there were long-term career options for junior doctors, given the rapid expansion of local medical schools and that more junior doctors who were trained abroad are returning to Singapore to practise ("Ensure long-term plans for junior doctors", Feb 13).

With an ageing population, there is an increased need for clinical manpower in the fields of family medicine, geriatric medicine and internal medicine, across primary, community and acute care settings.

Doctors can take up family medicine residency training and practice as consultant family physicians providing holistic and continuing care in the community. They can also take up speciality training to practise as specialists in hospitals.

With the variety of career options available, junior doctors can aspire to have meaningful and rewarding careers in the healthcare sector.

We agree with Mr Ching that we should also attract back Singaporean physicians who are working overseas.

MOH Holdings offers the Pre-Employment Grant (PEG) to attract Singaporeans studying medicine overseas to return to practise locally. In 2014, 181 PEGs were awarded to Singaporean medical students, an increase of almost three times since the inception of the grant in 2010.

MOH Holdings and the public healthcare institutions also organise regular engagements with overseas Singaporean doctors who are interested to explore opportunities back home.

Recruitment incentives, such as relocation allowances and reimbursement for air travel, are offered, besides competitive salary packages.

In addition to recruiting overseas-trained Singaporean doctors, the Ministry of Health also works closely with our public healthcare institutions to ensure that we retain good doctors, through the provision of professional development and career advancement opportunities, recognition for excellence in clinical, teaching, research and leadership work, and a conducive work environment.

We will continue to review and improve our efforts to attract and retain local and overseas-trained Singaporean doctors.

Lim Bee Khim (Ms)

Director

Corporate Communications

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2016, with the headline 'Career options, incentives for doctors to return to S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe