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How is life as a doctor in Singapore?

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  #61 (permalink)  
Old 10-03-2012, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Surgksa View Post
Hi please comment I am interested to work in emergency department as resident, I am graduated from china so well known mandarin language.
What Would you advise?
Google for mohh and contact them directly.

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  #62 (permalink)  
Old 16-04-2012, 09:55 PM
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Smile Steve

What about if I am a Malaysian who want to work as houseman in singapore? How is the chances of being choose to be trainee for resident program in singapore? Is that better for me to stay back in Malaysia rather than go the singapore?

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  #63 (permalink)  
Old 16-04-2012, 10:00 PM
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Smile Working in Singapore better than Malaysia?

Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
There is a lot of truth in all that slave of medicine and dempsey said about working conditions for the junior doctors in Singapore (in the post for salary 2007). Kudos to them for speaking up. And yes, sleep deprivation has been linked to impaired concentration, no one can credibly dispute that. Annual leave? Plenty but you can't take them because someone else is already on leave.

Singapore has been on a recruitment drive to recruit foreign doctors for an extremely long time, yet they are still very short of doctors, especially doctors they are hoping to target (who received their medical education from first world countries). When something is such a hard sell, you have to wonder why. Just like the old adage: ďWhen something is sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.Ē You donít see Cambridge or Oxford going overseas on recruitment drives, do you?

Actually, I think the issue here is not the salary. The overall take home salary (ie, after taxes) are comparable to what a junior doctor (HO, MO, registrar) with similar experience would earn in Australia. But, a junior doctor in Australia works much less hours, and when you break down to hourly pay, the doctors in Singapore earn much less. Besides, essentials like houses and cars are far cheaper in Australia so your standard of living is much much better than in Singapore.

I think the issue is about working conditions (likened to slavery by slave of medicine) and respect. The vast majority of the junior doctors working in Singapore are Singapore graduates bonded to the system for 5 years(because of their NUS study bond). Like it or not, they have to stay because most of them cannot afford the very large sum they have to pay back to break the bond. When one is bonded, they lose bargaining power. Like it or not, they have to accept whatever conditions get imposed to them. They do not dare to speak up because they may get bullied for 5 years if they do. And also because of the fact that they are paid by the month not by the hour, they are forced to put in a lot of extra hours. I know hospitals which have daily meetings that start at 7am and MOís have to attend. And for MOís to have to come back alone every Sunday for routine ward rounds, thatís totally uncalled for, I think. I remember a posting I did where I did not get a single day off for 2 months. Yup, I worked 60days in a row. As someone said, even maids get a compuslory day off.

And since these are the set working conditions in Singapore, the foreign grads also have to work under the same conditions. Many many foreign grads have come back to work in Singapore, then left again when they realised what they really got themselves into. If someone borrowed money from loansharks and are now subjected to their harrassments, why should you come along and be subjected to the same harrassment? Totally unnecessary. But it is a pity that these foreign grads have wasted time & effort exploring what they think is greener pastures, only to realize that the grass in Singapore is actually wilted!

I think if the seniors make us feel appreciated and try to acknowledge the hardship that the juniors go through, it does go a long way. Rather than think ďIíve been through it so you must go through it tooĒ. It may not actually change the conditions, but it makes us feel better about it. Many people are not driven by money, but by job satisfaction.

In terms of trainee positions, I canít say there is a bias against foreign grads. However, if no one knows you, youíre less likely to be selected for a job than another doctor who have worked here and is known to the seniors. Itís human nature. Even if you are on the selection panel, youíre more likely to pick someone you know, than someone you donít know isnít it?
For foreign grads who come back to Singapore, there are also hurdles like the fact that you have to form new friendship, you donít have anyone to advise you re which postings not to choose, what to look out for etc, you have no one to confide in about work worries, because you donít have any close trusted friends. You really have to start over again in far more aspects of your life than you think.

If you are prepared to work extremely hard and forget totally about work-life balance, then yes, Singapore can be the place for you. But for many people like me, work-life balance is very important. Working about 60-80 hours a week does burn you out after awhile, and sooner than you think! And think about it, if you put in 60-80hrs a week of hard work where you are right now, your chance of becoming very successful is very good, maybe even better than Singapore!

There is another issue Ė the SMC. Even though they state on their website that Singaporeans who are foreign grads can apply for full registration after two years, in reality there are a lot of people who, for no apparent good reason, are not given their full registration after two years (MOís whose performance have been consistently graded good, never made any clinical mistakes, never had complaints made against them!)Ö and the first indicator of a ďpoorĒ performance was when full registration is rejected after two years. The best thing is, they donít give you a reason why full registration is rejected! Your SMC assessment reports are not shared with you. It is likely a ploy to keep foreign grads trapped in the public system, because the foreign grads have no study bond. So foreign grad Singaporeans, be very aware! You may want to rethink your decision to come back if you think you can get full registration after two years! The actual fact is that youíre likely to be trapped in stifling working conditions for longer than you think!

As for foreign consultants who want to work in Singapore, the reality is that your hands will be severely tied with the conditional registration Ė which stipulates where you can work, how many hours you must work etc. You can forget about flexibility or locum work. You have to start all over again, and if you really think about it, youíre probably better off spending those few years building your career in where you are right now, and starting over.
The bottom line is, if you graduated from a first world country like UK, Australia, USA, youíre really MUCH better off staying put, because the working conditions and living conditions, quality of life (for yourself and your family) are far better in these countries, and spend the time/effort establishing your practice where you are. I canít say the same for doctors who currently come from the third world countries, because living conditions are probably better in Singapore compared to those third world countries and they do stand to gain by coming.

Just my opinion of course, from someone who's worked in Singapore, and overseas!
Hi, what about if i am a new junior houseman from Malaysia. Is working in Singapore better than Malaysia?

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  #64 (permalink)  
Old 19-04-2012, 12:55 AM
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i advised that u complete ur housemanship in msia before coming over as medical officer.. ur pay will be much higher and u will have housing allowance that singaporean doctors do not get.
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  #66 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2012, 10:41 AM
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Default Foreign doctor shedding some real light

I am a consultant in Singapore went thru med school in Australia and completed specialist training in Singapore. Just thought to shed some light on some issues discussed.

With regards to registration
Yes all foreign grads are given conditional registration unlike if I go UK or Australia where I would qualify for full registration. But in reality conditional registration unlike temporary registration does not require so much hand holding as long as you practice in a local hospital in a department with a supervisor. Anyway I would be very concerned as a foreigner if i was taking a job and not aclimatizing to local situations. I turned full registration after 5 years as a conditional registered doctor and no I am not Singaporean. You need only your supervisor to advice the medical council that you are ready.

Pay wise we are very comparable to UK or Australia AFTER tax in our public hospitals . Tax in Singapore is far lower than UK or Australia. As a young consultant earning above 200k in a pulblichospital I am only taxed 10%. So I keep most of what I earned. Also medical indemnity insurance here is cheaper.

Cost of living here is comparable to Melbourne or London (I lived in both) as long as you can adapt to local foods (bowl of noodles is $4 or chicken rice can be $3.50). But yes housing and a car are the biggest costs here. Housing you prob can rent a decent apartment for 2000-3000 a month (comparing to central London at 3000 pounds a month). In terms of getting around our subway is very convenient apart from recent mess ups... Taxis are cheaper than in UK or Aust for sure

Living in Singapore is safe and secure as long as you do not go looking for trouble at certain spots. But in general you can jog around at night. There is also a huge expat community here so you can meet up with countrymen by using online forums at attend meetups at usual hangings like Clarke quay, siglap, holland village or Jalan kayu.

The main disadvantage here is there is sill laxity in working hours oversight... As a registrar I used to work close to 60 hours a week.. This went down to 40 hours after I turned consultant. There is little in union practices here. Also your bonuses are tied in with performance so if you are coming here be sure you know you can perform well.

Lastly living in Singapore means no more 4 seasons and no natural getaways unless you fly out of the country. Most of Singapore is a built up island city. But saying that we do have a good airport
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  #67 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2012, 10:43 AM
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Default Additional comments

Residency is hard as hell to get in as like US it starts from university time... But saying that there are spots for foreign doctors and those who have not taken residency until a later date but those spots are competitive... However if you know you are a good performer then your chances are pretty good.
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  #68 (permalink)  
Old 19-06-2012, 03:30 PM
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I happen to be in singapore for these two weeks. where can i go to speak to the MOs? wouldnt it be weird to just go to the hospitals/ wards to start speaking to them?

secondly, if i cant get full registration (after a year), could i still apply for residency?
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  #69 (permalink)  
Old 20-06-2012, 04:43 PM
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to the foreign doctor above who completed his residency in singapore and am currently a consultant there, i wonder why did you choose to do your residency in sg? i would jump at the opportunity to do it in australia/ UK. they are more reputable.
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  #70 (permalink)  
Old 21-06-2012, 09:08 PM
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Default A humble GP since 1983

Well this guy is doing OK:


"bernard cheong doctor watches life"

Call me a jerk or any name...but working hard from ground zero in will be hard..difficult...but rewarding.
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