How are foreign doctors selected?

Medical students practise resuscitation techniques on a mannequin at the Centre for Healthcare Simulation.
Medical students practise resuscitation techniques on a mannequin at the Centre for Healthcare Simulation. ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

With the increase in the number of foreign doctors in the public sector, I wonder what the selection criteria are for recruiting such medical professionals ("Number of foreign doctors rising in public sector"; Monday).

The quality of doctors is critical.

Are the selection criteria on a par with those for locals?

Which foreign medical schools are recognised?

Who oversees the recruitment? What safeguards are there to ensure that these foreign doctors are as safe and reliable as local doctors?

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has offered to pay up to $50,000 a year for the final three years of study for overseas Singaporean medical students.

However, monetary enticement is not the only solution. Well-to-do families that can afford to send their children overseas may not need the money.

Instead, the MOH should chart out the career paths for these students, such as when they can expect to be promoted.

Many specialists leave the public sector not so much because of the pay but because of the endless paperwork, heavy workload and tedious work process.

Some of the specialists I know also cited their dissatisfaction with changes to the public healthcare system over the years.

Instead of increasing the number of foreign doctors, the MOH must stem the exodus of public-sector doctors.

Public-sector doctors may also stay if they are appreciated more.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline 'How are foreign doctors selected?'. Print Edition | Subscribe