Find ways to fill gap with local doctors

Inside the operating theatre at Changi General Hospital.
Inside the operating theatre at Changi General Hospital.PHOTO: ST FILE

While we are fortunate to be able to attract foreign doctors to meet our immediate needs, it is not a suitable long-term solution.

Employing translators is also not a good way to solve the issue of language barriers between foreign doctors and local patients ("Foreign touch in national healthcare"; Wednesday).

Though the majority of Singaporeans are English-educated, we have overlooked the fact that some of us may face communication problems with foreign doctors, as we use different varieties of English.

Messages, once translated into another language, could also be distorted to varying degrees, with key information left out or mistranslated.

This difference between information from direct source and translated source will affect diagnosis and treatment.

Thus, we have to strive to fill the gap with local doctors as soon as possible.

Since there is a shortage of facilities and teaching personnel to train doctors, one solution is to reduce the training period for candidates with the appropriate qualifications, aptitude and interest.

These candidates can include working adults or graduates in fields related to science.       

Yeo Boon Eng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2015, with the headline 'Find ways to fill gap with local doctors'. Print Edition | Subscribe