Angry Doctor

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Alien Doctors

No, not this one, but this post by Dr Huang.

angry doc has worked with and still works with doctors from other countries. Other than the feeling that we might be 'exporting our healthcare problem' by poaching doctors from countries which may already be suffering from a shortage of doctors, angry doc doesn't really have a problem with 'importing' foreign doctors, in general or with regards to which medical school they graduated from, or what qualifications they held.

To use a cliche, there are good and bad doctors everywhere.

In fact, angry doc can't remember when the last time it was he asked a foreign doctor which medical school he graduated from (he is more likely to ask that question of a Singaporean doctor who has graduated overseas...). His opinion of his colleagues (foreign and local) depends not on which school they came from, or if they were on the Dean's List or Honour Roll, but how they performed as doctors, and functioned as colleagues.

Graduating from a top medical school does not automatically make one a good doctor, nor does graduating from a low-ranking medical school mean one will not become a good doctor.

Just as there is no guarantee that a graduate from our local medical school will not turn out to be disgrace to the profession, there can be no guarantee that limiting recruitment to a few top medical schools will bring in only doctors who will be an asset to our healthcare system. It takes time to find out if someone can function and perform in our local healthcare system with its unique set of rules and regulations (written or otherwise) and its unique patient and disease profiles, and angry doc supposes that's where the period of supervision and assessment come in.

What is important perhaps, even as we open our doors, is that we have a system to 'uninvite' the doctors who may for one reason or another be found not suitable for our healthcare system.



  • An interesting dilemma that we have had in Oz in recent years as well, with a considerable shortage of docs in recent years.

    Very politically charged of late, largely due to one notorious "bad egg" surgeon in Queensland.

    Certainly some cultural issues as you mention, for any doc, from anywhere, practicing in any new land.

    Our newly entered foreign trained GP's, for example, get conscripted out into remote and rural locations for many years.

    And, as seems the case there as well, there is often a foul racist undercurrent. No matter the countries of origin, or destination both.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 31, 2007 9:19 pm  

  • Would this procedure to 'uninvite' unsuitable doctors entail an identical yardstick for local doctors?

    Or would a standard of care resulting in withdrawal of practice rights for a foreign doctor, be instead deemed fit-to-practice if it were instead a local doctor doing the same?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 31, 2007 11:08 pm  

  • I, too, have worked with foreign-trained doctors, some Singaporean & some not. And I absolutely agree that good or bad doctors can come from anywhere. They all need to be up to par as far as patient care is concerned, no matter what passport they hold.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 01, 2007 12:33 am  

  • Lets put it this way: It seems that most widely dispersed foreign drs are from a certain rather heavily populated sub-continent with a very significant rate of infant mortality and the sickly. So unless these drs have run out of patients suddenly, they should stay at home and contribute to the well-being of his/her people. Then again, those people probably don't pay as well as the foreigners. Oh what a moral dilemma.

    Like all cheap commodities/labour, foreign drs are used to undercut local drs. However, being in a profession that professes to help the sick, any foreign dr who utilised his/her country's limited resources for medical training only to ditch it for the highest bidder, is an anathema.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 01, 2007 3:43 am  

  • I guess the non-doctors know best about these things. Not doctors themselves.

    That's why they are the ones who call the shots.

    In the government we trust. (What choice do we have anyway?)

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At February 01, 2007 10:13 am  

  • Not much choice in the matter. Singaporeans want cheaper healthcare and shorter waiting times at polyclinics, even though the consultation fee is only S$8. The solution is to bring in foreign doctors who are willing to accept lower pay. A specialist doctor in Bangalore with experience working in the US is paid less than Rs50,000 (S$1741), even less in the public hospitals there.

    For every third-year Singaporean MO, we may hire two Indian doctors to work as clinical fellows. That will cut the waiting time without increasing medical costs...

    The government is only responding to the demands of the population

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 03, 2007 7:40 am  

  • hmmm, doctors from the 'overpopulated' subcontinental country are not 'patriotic'. i am sure every single one from the lion city is very much so. what happens to people who work in other countries in multinational companies? they are patriotic, because they are not doctors...!! and what about doctors from singapore, who decide to work in england, where they trained? they are fine, maybe unpatriotic as well...
    it is time one realised that population flow will be regulated by need and appreciation. if the rich indian government wanted to retain doctors it would appreciate them more and not pay them less than taxi drivers.
    Lee Kwon Yew, your founder, said: 'If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys'

    By Blogger REFIT, At February 13, 2007 3:09 am  

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