Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 1, 2007

UM, UKM medical grads allowed to practise in Singapore

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:21 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: Singapore’s gain will be Malaysia’s loss, this time over the recruitment of doctors.
This follows the decision of the Singapore Government to allow medical graduates from Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia to practise in the city-state.
UM and UKM are the first institutions within Asean to receive such approval in the republic, which was announced by Singapore’s Ministry of Health on Friday.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), which said Singapore’s move would worsen the shortage of medical specialists here, nevertheless welcomed the announcement that was also hailed by the Singapore Medical Association.
MMA president Datuk Dr Teoh Siang Chin said the decision was to do with “quality, not quantity.”
“It is a good thing for both patients and the profession. Doctors should be free to move where they want,” he said.
On the medical “brain drain” impact on Malaysia, Dr Teoh said this was bound to occur in any case.
“This is a lesson for our Health Ministry … to appreciate the fact that Malaysian doctors, especially government doctors, are valued around the world,” he said.
Singapore Medical Association president Dr Wong Chiang Yin was reported to have described the decision as a step in the right direction, and hoped it would lead to more medical interaction on both sides.
“It is about going forward, and we welcome each other.
“There is a lot of talent, especially from those two universities (UM and UKM),” he added.
UKM greeted Singapore’s decision with pride. Its medical faculty dean, Prof Datuk Dr Lokman Saim, said:
“It is a good move as it shows that the standard of our medical graduates is being recognised. Singapore’s standard of care is higher and it will be a good opportunity for our local graduates to show their capabilities. This augurs well for our local education system.”
He did not think that there would be a doctor exodus as Singapore was not heavily populated.
“Our public universities produce about 1,000 doctors every year and we will have enough doctors in our country,” he said, but acknowledged that Singapore held the edge in terms of remuneration.
A senior staff of a private medical institution here revealed that private hospital groups from Singapore had been coming over in a bid to woo those with potential to be good doctors.
“Before, they were high and mighty and did not recognise medical transfer degree programmes.
“But now they’re facing a shortage and need to get the manpower so their health system can function,” he added.
Medical graduates from 18 institutions, from Canada, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and the United States, can also practise in Singapore.
The Singapore ministry said re-cognising the additional universities would help Singapore hospitals in the republic recruit good doctors to meet rising demand.
As at the end of 2006, there were 250 positions for doctors waiting to be filled in public hospitals there.
Singapore currently has 7,611 registered doctors, including 2,286 who were trained in foreign institutions.
The Singapore Medical Council currently has 86 Malaysian doctors on its register.

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