Nationality of doctors not the issue

I am neither upset that young Singaporeans who want to become doctors have been denied that opportunity here nor am I worried that patients might not get the best care due to the foreign influx of doctors ("Stop inflow of foreign docs? It's the patients who will suffer"; Dec 11).

Needless to say, being a doctor is about being a professional committed to helping people, rather than being just a wage earner.

Regardless of where he originates, a doctor must be able to diagnose my illness, communicate his diagnosis to me and prescribe medication to cure my illness.

My experience with doctors started in 2010 at a polyclinic, when I needed a referral for my cataract surgery. I went to the clinic in the morning and was warned of the unusually long delay that day.

While waiting, I managed to have my lunch. When I finally saw the doctor at about 2.30pm, he looked very tired, yet took his time to check my eyes before giving me the referral to the National University Hospital (NUH).

It was great that the doctor had some time for a chit-chat, during which I came to realise that he did not even have time for his morning cup of coffee, let alone time for lunch. I left his consultation room feeling grateful.

He was a quality foreign doctor and, if asked, I would have rated him between nine and 10 for his service.

Since that time, a team of nurses and medical students led by an eye surgeon at the NUH performed my cataract surgery, and I have been in regular consultation with different doctors of varying origins at the eye centre.

While I never bothered to find out where these doctors came from, I admire their professionalism in the way they communicated with me.

While I trust the healthcare authorities' assurance that doctors' quality standards will remain high, the quality of service provided by a doctor is limited to his commitment to helping patients.

Cutting off the supply of quality foreign doctors just because we want more Singaporean doctors or because we are worried over the quality of care would be a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

S. Ratnakumar