Sheesh, it is not the kind of report that inspires confidence in our medical system. All foreign doctors are supposed to be assessed in English by a panel for their clinical competence. Additionally, doctors from China have to pass two English tests, one for clinical and one for language proficiency. The type of doctors who were cleared to practise in our hospitals:
Dr Li Wei Shan saw patients with dengue fever for the first time in his life here at Singapore General Hospital, presumably nobody has mosquito bites in China. He is obviously not one of those Long March veterans who trekked through eleven provinces, over raging rivers and snow-capped mountain ranges, through insect-infested swamps and forests. The 30-year old from Peking First University had to bone up on more then dengue: "I bought textbooks to find out more about local diseases."
Language proficient -
Dr Feng Jue-fei (Tan Tock Seng Hospital) thought his patient wanted to know why the surgical procedure was necessary, when the articulated request was to see the senior doctor in charge. Says he, "In China, the working language is Chinese. Here, we have to learn how to write medical records in English; how to present cases in English; how to update the family in English. It's a little bit difficult, I think." Oh, we get it, his application work to in Singapore was probably written by an English proficient agent. Feng is among the first batch of 23 doctors recruited from China.
A Ministry of Health said its first priority in increasing manpower supply is to attract overseas trained Singaporean doctors to practise here, implying that those who have left will need some persuasive effort to come home.
In his National Day Rally 2011 speech, PM Lee revealed that in the medical school here at NUS, only 300 places for medical students are allocated, when there are 2,000 students applying to study medicine. "All of them have outstanding results: three As, four As, CCA, secondment, internship, all sorts, whatever is necessary to improve their chances, they have done it," Lee said. Thanks to his crafting of Government policy, these proficient candidates have to pursue their dreams offshore, biting off a huge chunk of their parents' life savings, and sacrificing family ties for an extended separation. Gratitude for a nation that turfed them out must figure significantly in their minds.
The data released by the National Population and Talent Division missed out on one important set of figures. The number of Singaporeans leaving the country, hoping never to have to return. Some folks who sold off their property to finance their children's tertiary education abroad may have done their own astute forward planning. Once their kids enter the workforce in a overseas country, there is the likelihood of being sponsored over for a Green Card or equivalent. It's a long bet, but the odds have to be better than that at Marina Bay Sands, or with the policy and politics entrenched by current regime.