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uk_doctor 04-11-2009 05:50 PM

How is life as a doctor in Singapore?
 
Hi,

I'm currently a doctor, graduated and working in the UK. Recently I have been thinking about moving to Singapore to live and work. Main reason being the quality of life over there.

What I wanted to know is how is the work/life balance as a junior doctor? How often do you have to work a weekend and how often are you doing an on call shift?

Another reason for moving over there is to be able to travel around Southern Asia during my spare time, but if I won't have any spare time then it really defeats the point.

Any information would be gratefully appreciated.

doctor 04-11-2009 07:37 PM

Have you read the comments at: Doctors’ pay | Salary.sg - Your Salary in Singapore
and
Income of GP Doctors | Salary.sg - Your Salary in Singapore

Quote:

Originally Posted by uk_doctor (Post 4926)
Hi,

I'm currently a doctor, graduated and working in the UK. Recently I have been thinking about moving to Singapore to live and work. Main reason being the quality of life over there.

What I wanted to know is how is the work/life balance as a junior doctor? How often do you have to work a weekend and how often are you doing an on call shift?

Another reason for moving over there is to be able to travel around Southern Asia during my spare time, but if I won't have any spare time then it really defeats the point.

Any information would be gratefully appreciated.


uk_doctor 04-11-2009 09:28 PM

I did read those comments, especially the descriptive account of doctors being treated like 'slaves'. Just wondering whether other doctors agreed with this or not. If that is the case then I have an amazing deal right here at home!

Unregistered 04-11-2009 11:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uk_doctor (Post 4928)
I did read those comments, especially the descriptive account of doctors being treated like 'slaves'. Just wondering whether other doctors agreed with this or not. If that is the case then I have an amazing deal right here at home!

Easy. Travel here, visit our hospitals and talk to our MOs ("junior doctors").

Never trust the web, like you don't trust recruiters and agents.

anon2 05-11-2009 07:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uk_doctor (Post 4926)
Hi,

I'm currently a doctor, graduated and working in the UK. Recently I have been thinking about moving to Singapore to live and work. Main reason being the quality of life over there.

What I wanted to know is how is the work/life balance as a junior doctor? How often do you have to work a weekend and how often are you doing an on call shift?

Another reason for moving over there is to be able to travel around Southern Asia during my spare time, but if I won't have any spare time then it really defeats the point.

Any information would be gratefully appreciated.


if i were you, i will be locuming & travelling during my spare time. there are many locum shifts available in the UK.

uk_doctor 05-11-2009 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by anon2 (Post 4930)
if i were you, i will be locuming & travelling during my spare time. there are many locum shifts available in the UK.

I'm still relatively junior and if I stay in the UK I will go on a training programme.

Unregistered 04-02-2010 06:38 AM

Working in Singapore as a doctor - the real deal!
 
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!

confused.com 27-02-2010 11:49 PM

Doctor jobs in Singapore
 
Very interested to read the remarks above - I am a Consultant in the UK since last 2.5 years.I have recently been tempted by Singapore consultant jobs - mainly the weather (!) and the fact that it is in Asia ( I'm Indian).Also thought it would be nice to bring kids up in cosmopolitan environment.
Is this the truth? Does life not get better as doctors progress up the ladder? Are the earnings not comfortable enough as a Consultant to not need locum work and to live comfortably?

Unregistered 16-04-2010 12:19 AM

Consultant post in Singapore
 
I moved over to Singapore after spending 4 years as an NHS consultant. Having trained and worked through the UK system for over 20 years I got very frustrated by the increasing red tape and unreasonable demand placed on physicians by the managers. Moving to Singapore does mean a fresh start. Working hard is part of life as a physician but as a senior doctor, I did not find that I have to work that much harder compared to UK. Since travelling time is significantly shorter I actually get to see my kids a lot more. With the devaluation of the pounds and the low tax regime my take home salary is significantly better than in UK (my private work was approx 50% of my 12PA NHS salary). A word of caution, each specialty earns differently in Singapore, in general surgeon more than physician and doctors who carry out procedures (gastro, cardio) take home more than paeds.
House price here is expensive but so was London before the crash. In fact I am sure the London price was significantly higher than that of Singapore a couple of years back.
Kids have no choice but to go to International School but the standard is high with large campus and good facilities. Our children have no problem settling in at all.
Bad points, well the weather is very hot. There is no seasonal variation. Cars here are just ridiculously expensive.
If you are serious, you should fly over to look around and ask to be introduced to other consultants from UK and get a feel of the whole thing. If your other half happens to be medic most hospital will try hard to get him/her appointed at the same time.
Hope this helps.

UK Cons 05-05-2010 12:03 AM

thinking of taking a sabbatical in Singapore
 
I have been an NHS consultant psychiatrist for almost 3 years and am thinking of taking a sabbatical in Singapore working in the public health system for a year or so. I wonder what the experience is like for the transition from the NHS to Singapore's health service.

I think the pay is variable and negotiable. However, is this offered up front and has the process of moving and tansferring your skills been a problem.

I wonder if there are any language issues in Singapore. Do people access healthcare in Mandarin or in English? Taking a psychiatric history in mandarin would be a kin to a comedy sketch.

Many thanks for anyone who is able to offer any advice.

Unregistered 05-05-2010 09:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UK Cons (Post 5836)
I have been an NHS consultant psychiatrist for almost 3 years and am thinking of taking a sabbatical in Singapore working in the public health system for a year or so. I wonder what the experience is like for the transition from the NHS to Singapore's health service.

I think the pay is variable and negotiable. However, is this offered up front and has the process of moving and tansferring your skills been a problem.

I wonder if there are any language issues in Singapore. Do people access healthcare in Mandarin or in English? Taking a psychiatric history in mandarin would be a kin to a comedy sketch.

Many thanks for anyone who is able to offer any advice.

Most patients in Singapore, except the older ones, can speak reasonable English. And there are even local doctors who speak only English (they grow up in an English-only environment but their accent is very asian).

Unregistered 09-05-2010 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by confused.com (Post 5302)
Very interested to read the remarks above - I am a Consultant in the UK since last 2.5 years.I have recently been tempted by Singapore consultant jobs - mainly the weather (!) and the fact that it is in Asia ( I'm Indian).Also thought it would be nice to bring kids up in cosmopolitan environment.
Is this the truth? Does life not get better as doctors progress up the ladder? Are the earnings not comfortable enough as a Consultant to not need locum work and to live comfortably?

Life does get easier when you are a consultant, well... depending on the institution you happen to be in and the presence of tyrants etc etc.

admin 30-05-2010 01:09 PM

See also the comments at:

Doctors’ pay | Salary.sg - Your Salary in Singapore

and

Graduate Employment Survey 2009 (published 2010) | Salary.sg - Your Salary in Singapore

Unregistered 15-03-2011 01:08 AM

Arrogant Doctor in singapore SGH
 
Had made an appointment with this Dr XXX from SGH on 14/03/11. This doctor shown no regards for me by not turning up.The lame excuse given is busy. I felt insulted.

Unregistered 15-03-2011 01:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 10203)
Had made an appointment with this Dr XXX from SGH on 14/03/11. This doctor shown no regards for me by not turning up.The lame excuse given is busy. I felt insulted.

So i am the one who is stupid to turn up and very free...while this promising doctor is very busy and high class? What kind of person is this?

Unregistered 15-03-2011 02:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 10204)
So i am the one who is stupid to turn up and very free...while this promising doctor is very busy and high class? What kind of person is this?

That's not all..i remember asking to write a memo to my camp MO,this doctor then flung the letter in front of me without giving me the envelop. When i asked for it, again flung the envelop in front of me very reluctantly.

Unregistered 15-03-2011 07:05 AM

Arrogant doctor from SGH
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 10204)
So i am the one who is stupid to turn up and very free...while this promising doctor is very busy and high class? What kind of person is this?


This fellow think that i'm a "soft" and nice guy type good to bully,let me show you,you are totally wrong! I am even bolder than the other jerks you know and i'm extraordinarily successful for my age too!

Unregistered 15-03-2011 11:50 AM

Complain directly to SMC if you feel you are mistreated professionally.

Unregistered 15-03-2011 01:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 10207)
This fellow think that i'm a "soft" and nice guy type good to bully,let me show you,you are totally wrong! I am even bolder than the other jerks you know and i'm extraordinarily successful for my age too!

Unregistered, remember to seek psychiatric help too.

Unregistered 05-06-2011 11:43 PM

totally agree
 
From the point of view of a patient, I hate to say this to a fellow patient. Whoever you are, please do see a psychologist or counsellor for anger management. You really frighten me with your unreasonable threats and ranting.

Unregistered 05-06-2011 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 10207)
This fellow think that i'm a "soft" and nice guy type good to bully,let me show you,you are totally wrong! I am even bolder than the other jerks you know and i'm extraordinarily successful for my age too!



the other jerks ...? Sorry, but you sound like a jerk yourself. Kudos to that doctor for keeping his professional calm with patients like you.

Unregistered 21-07-2011 04:48 AM

Pathetic
 
am a UK cardiothoracic trainee, was planning to continue training in singapore. am shocked to see the comments made. is there no pay banding and work hours monitoring in sg. what salary can I negotiate if my current salary is about £80,000 on Band 3. can someone pls throw some light. is it really worth given the difficulty to be in CT surgery in UK, it's next to impossible,as one may be aware. Any advice pls

undiscern 21-07-2011 10:18 AM

It is not worth coming here. please stay put in uk. we, people here, are dreaming of going there.

Unregistered 21-07-2011 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 14478)
am a UK cardiothoracic trainee, was planning to continue training in singapore. am shocked to see the comments made. is there no pay banding and work hours monitoring in sg. what salary can I negotiate if my current salary is about £80,000 on Band 3. can someone pls throw some light. is it really worth given the difficulty to be in CT surgery in UK, it's next to impossible,as one may be aware. Any advice pls

Singapore welcomes all talented foreigners with wide open arms. It's a condition called xenophilia. You should ask for at least 100k gbp with benefits matching what you get in UK.

Unregistered 21-07-2011 09:14 PM

my advice to you, if you want to work in here then ask for more pay than what you received in uk.

there won't be any language barrier because all hospitals have their own interpreter.

and also prepare yourself to receive a lot of unreasonable complains.

Joe123 22-07-2011 11:01 AM

do you fancy old ladies, old men or small kids? at the clinic, it is cough, flu, fever, cough, flu, fever, cough, flu, fever, cough, flu, fever, cough, flu, fever + millions of complains.

Unregistered 23-07-2011 09:40 PM

Dear friends..........I would curious about how much a psychiatrist or child psychiatrist would be able to make in singapore. May it be at hospital or in private practice? I heart sums from about S$300,000 to S$500,000 a year? Considering the shortage of psychiatrists in Singapore is it one of the better paid specialties? Thanks.

Unregistered 25-07-2011 12:43 AM

As a former medic of SAF, I can attest to the fact that all the doctors I have come across has no sympathy or consideration towards patients. After reading this forum, i wonder if the main reason was overwork. But since they hate working with sick people so much, i will advise them to find a job in another industry for the sake of themselves and the patients.

Unregistered 25-07-2011 02:01 AM

Psychiatrists
 
I wonder how much a psychiatrist in private practice could make in Singapore? Real estates are quite high in the city. Therefore making a good and respectable living would necessitate some S$300k - S$500k a year. Supposed doing 2000 hours of work it would mean to calculate an hourly rate of about S$300 to net about S$300k a year after overhead etc.
Anyone informed in this issues?

Unregistered 22-08-2011 03:25 PM

Maternity leave for foreign female doctor
 
Could anyone of you guide me how do they take a foreign doctor getting pregnant?Do they treat you as well as a local singaporean doctor or do you feel discrimination by colleagues/employer?Does it affect your job?

Unregistered 22-08-2011 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 15656)
Could anyone of you guide me how do they take a foreign doctor getting pregnant?Do they treat you as well as a local singaporean doctor or do you feel discrimination by colleagues/employer?Does it affect your job?

There's nothing wrong in getting pregnant. If you feel discriminated against, write a complaint letter to MOM or write to the papers. The government here is very pro-foreigners because they badly need us here. They even forced a local Indian family to stop cooking curry because their neighbour from China couldn't take the curry smell.

Unregistered 28-08-2011 07:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 14478)
am a UK cardiothoracic trainee, was planning to continue training in singapore. am shocked to see the comments made. is there no pay banding and work hours monitoring in sg. what salary can I negotiate if my current salary is about £80,000 on Band 3. can someone pls throw some light. is it really worth given the difficulty to be in CT surgery in UK, it's next to impossible,as one may be aware. Any advice pls

Just stay put where you are :D Dont come here.

Unregistered 01-09-2011 09:07 PM

I am a consultant in the UK wishing to move to Singapore. So far the forum sounds of mixed messages. Can anyone especially doctors who have emigrated from the UK advice please? Thanks in advance

Unregistered 01-09-2011 10:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 14617)
As a former medic of SAF, I can attest to the fact that all the doctors I have come across has no sympathy or consideration towards patients. After reading this forum, i wonder if the main reason was overwork. But since they hate working with sick people so much, i will advise them to find a job in another industry for the sake of themselves and the patients.

Oh pls !!! overwork in the SAF ?? are u nuts ??

UncleTom 05-09-2011 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 15656)
Could anyone of you guide me how do they take a foreign doctor getting pregnant?Do they treat you as well as a local singaporean doctor or do you feel discrimination by colleagues/employer?Does it affect your job?

I am not sure you want to start your job hunt that way. Certainly it won't look good on you if you turn up with a big tummy saying I am going to take a long maternity leave soon.

There is discrimination everywhere so expect to be treated as you have treated foreigners who came to your country.

Good luck.

UncleTom 05-09-2011 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 14576)
Dear friends..........I would curious about how much a psychiatrist or child psychiatrist would be able to make in singapore. May it be at hospital or in private practice? I heart sums from about S$300,000 to S$500,000 a year? Considering the shortage of psychiatrists in Singapore is it one of the better paid specialties? Thanks.

You may have heard wrong. That kind of money is not easy to make and is most likely only in a private setting. Even then you do not have a good headstart as a foreigner. Institution work, ok. You will be paid reasonably but no miracles. Surgical specialties are the more better paid ones.

Hermit 07-09-2011 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 14478)
am a UK cardiothoracic trainee, was planning to continue training in singapore. am shocked to see the comments made. is there no pay banding and work hours monitoring in sg. what salary can I negotiate if my current salary is about £80,000 on Band 3. can someone pls throw some light. is it really worth given the difficulty to be in CT surgery in UK, it's next to impossible,as one may be aware. Any advice pls

You heard right. No pay banding or grades. Work hours monitoring? Nice one.

It will be a case of demand and supply, and then luck plus right timing. And preferably you gotta know someone here senior enough. So good luck.

guest 15-12-2011 08:46 PM

pls help... seeking opinions from local doctors working in hospitals
 
hihi, i'm seeking treatment fr a specialist clinic in one of the sg public hospitals. if i request to change to a different doctor after a few months of seeing a particular doctor, will my request affect my first doctor in any way? i mean in terms of his work record with the clinic & hospital, his appraisal, performance reviews, etc?

any insight or advice will be greatly appreciated, thanks :)

jonjon 15-12-2011 11:13 PM

pls help... seeking opinions from local doctors working in hospitals
 
depends on whether the patient it a PRIVATE or SUBSIDIZED?
If a priv patient switches to Dr B, then Dr B will get a % of the fees paid by the patient. So Dr A loses a patient.
If a subsidized patient switches to Dr B, there is no loss or gain in renumaration for either Dr A or Dr B.
The hospital does not count the switch against any Dr.

guest 17-12-2011 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonjon (Post 18890)
depends on whether the patient it a PRIVATE or SUBSIDIZED?
If a priv patient switches to Dr B, then Dr B will get a % of the fees paid by the patient. So Dr A loses a patient.
If a subsidized patient switches to Dr B, there is no loss or gain in renumaration for either Dr A or Dr B.
The hospital does not count the switch against any Dr.

hi jonjon, thanks for the explanation & reply, really appreciate it :) i'm glad to know that my first doc would not be affected negatively. the only thing is, it was one of the senior doctors who discovered that my doc could have made the wrong diagnosis of my condition, if this were to be brought up to my doc's boss' attention, there is nothing i could do about it. but for now, i do not intend to lodge a complaint.


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