Singapore now has a record 13,000 doctors, says SMC in its latest annual report

An annual report from the Singapore Medical Council has revealed that the number of doctors ion Singapore hit a new high of 13,006 in 2015.
An annual report from the Singapore Medical Council has revealed that the number of doctors ion Singapore hit a new high of 13,006 in 2015. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The number of doctors here hit a new high of 13,006 in 2015, with the addition of 930 newly registered doctors, the Singapore Medical Council said in its latest annual report published early August.

This brings the doctor to population ratio to 1:444, up from 1:640 a decade ago in 2005.

With a greater need for healthcare professionals as Singapore's population grows and ages, the authorities have been actively recruiting foreigners to fill the gap.

Nearly 20 per cent, or 2,366, of the doctors working here are foreign, with most working in the public sector. Only 201 foreign doctors are in private practice here. These numbers do not include foreigners who have become PR or citizens

The report said that of the 543 new doctors granted provisional registration - these are graduates doing their one year of Housemanship - 249 were from the National University of Singapore, 48 from the DukeNUS Medical School and 246 from foreign universities.

Of the newly registered doctors, 190 were overseas-trained Singaporeans or permanent residents who have returned to practise here. This is more than the 160 who returned in 2014.

The Ministry of Health has been trying to get locals studying medicine overseas to return, with pre-employment grants of up to $50,000 a year to pay for tuition fees for up to three years. On their return, these students are bonded for three to four years, including the one-year Housemanship training.

There were a total of 4,788 specialists at the end of 2015, accounting for 37 per cent of all doctors. The specialties with the most practitioners are paediatric medicine (356), diagnostic radiology (320) and obstetrics and gynaecology (316).

The SMC received 141 complaints against 161 doctors in 2015. The report said this was a six-year low. While it is significantly lower than the 213 complaints received in 2014, it is only slightly fewer than the 172 complaints lodged in 2013.