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Singapore

More than 90% of doctors under MOHH are local, says holding company of public healthcare clusters

The holding company of Singapore’s public healthcare clusters posted a tender last month, indicating its intention to recruit doctors from India, a move that sparked online debate.

More than 90% of doctors under MOHH are local, says holding company of public healthcare clusters

File photo of a doctor talking to a patient. (Photo: iStock/wutwhanfoto)

SINGAPORE: More than 90 per cent of doctors employed by MOH Holdings (MOHH), the holding company of Singapore’s public healthcare clusters, are local.

These comprise graduates from three local medical schools and returning Singaporeans who pursued overseas medical studies at recognised universities.

MOHH’s statement comes after a tender issued by the company on Sep 6 found its way to social media platforms, sparking online debate.

The ongoing tender, which will close on Oct 10, is for a recruitment agency to provide services to recruit doctors from India to work as medical officers in Singapore. This includes looking for viable candidates as well as participating and assisting with MOHH’s recruitment trips to India.

According to tender documents posted on the company’s website, MOHH intends to recruit 60 medical officers from India per year from now till 2024, with the option of a one-year extension. 

Alternative news site The Online Citizen had also published an article about it, which raised concerns about alleged incidents of fraud and scandals in India’s medical education system.

Responding to media queries from CNA, a company spokesperson said MOHH has been recruiting qualified doctors from other countries such as the UK and Australia to supplement its overall capacity needs and to help reduce the heavy workload of existing doctors. 

It added that its priority is to recruit locals from the medical schools recognised by the Singapore Medical Council.

MOHH said it recruits about 700 junior doctors each year, adding that it has increased its "local pipeline" over the years.

Between 2012 and 2019, Singapore’s medical schools increased their combined intakes by 45 per cent from 350 in 2012 to about 510 in 2019, said the company’s spokesperson.

The schools admitted another 40 medical students each year in 2020 and 2021 to cater to students whose overseas medical studies were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We size the intake of our local universities, based on the need of the healthcare sector, and also the admission standards of the Universities,” said MOHH.

“Naturally, this means that places in medical schools are highly sought after, admission is very competitive, but on the other hand, graduates from our medical school are very highly regarded.”

The company spokesperson added that doctors who are recruited from overseas must have graduated from medical schools which are on the Second Schedule of the Medical Registration Act.

“These doctors will only be granted conditional registration for clinical practice and under strict supervision,” the company’s spokesperson said.

“They may eventually convert to full registration if they remain in good standing and have favourable supervisory reports attesting to their professionalism and competency.”

“Regardless of nationality, we value the contributions of each and every single doctor to Singapore and our healthcare system,” the spokesperson added.

Source: CNA/vl(ac)
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