Angry Doctor

Monday, March 09, 2009

Handicap 2

Mr Joe Sim, CEO of National University Hospital, whose interview we discussed in a previous post, has written a clarification on his statement in a letter to the ST Forum tiday:


CEOs' handicap: NUH chief did not mean it that way

I REFER to Dr Chong Yeh Woei's letter on Friday, 'Medical training not a handicap for hospital CEOs'.

In my interview with The Straits Times, I was asked if being a non-doctor made the job any easier or more difficult. Among the many things I shared on this question was my belief that because I am not a doctor, it would be less likely that I would be perceived to be biased towards any medical department.

I did not intend this to imply that it is a handicap for a CEO to be a doctor or that doctors carry psychological baggage, as Dr Chong wrote.

In fact, I agree with Dr Chong that doctors and non-doctors can and do make good CEOs, and I also agree with his points about the qualities of a good CEO.

Indeed, effective health care requires close teamwork among doctors, nurses, and allied health and administrative staff, and the CEO needs to be able to harness the collective strengths of the whole team.

Joe Sim
CEO
National University Hospital


Poor, misunderstood Mr Sim.

He actually meant that he would not be "perceived" to be biased when he said:

'This way, I have no baggage when I make decisions as they are non-biased and this is good for the hospital and the system.'

So unlike what Dr Chong thought, Mr Sim was not implying that doctors would make decisions that are biased and bad "for the hospital and the system" because of their medical training; he's just worried that his staff might not be perceptive enough to tell if a decision made by their CEO was made with the interests of the hospital in mind or based on departmental bias, if he happened to be a doctor.

(Yes, one may believe in certain things, but there are certain things that one simply does not write in a letter to the Forum...)

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