WHY IS SINGAPORE SO FIXATED ON HIRING FROM INDIA?

by Jack

This question is one which I don’t have the answer to. Only the ruling party knows the real reason why. The purpose of this piece is for me to talk about my perspective on this issue because while I can see why we do need a little bit of talent inflow, I really don’t see the benefit of restricting our country to one talent pool. 

Indian doctors during COVID-19

MOH plans to bring in 180 doctors from India – why only India? 

Latest in the news is MOH attempting to hire 180 doctors from India. Yes, specifically India. Perhaps it is to make up for the attrition rate post-COVID, especially after the brutal hours/conditions they had to work under. 

Many netters have already questioned why we cannot increase the intake for medical students in Singapore, so I shall not go down that path. And maybe one acceptable reason for this is that medical students still need a few years before they actually join the medical force. If we need doctors now, we need doctors now. 

Yet, this itself does not explain why India at all. Why couldn’t this have been opened up internationally, to look for the best doctors from around the world? 

Some netters believe that this is because of the commonwealth countries with similar medical systems, we are unable to attract doctors from UK, Australia, NZ, Canada, or Hong Kong, where the conditions and pay are better. Hence India is our next best option. 

Granted, MOHH only accepts two institutions – CMC Vellore and the all India institute for medical sciences – from India. So we can have some assurance that they are not going to be unqualified individuals. Nonetheless, this reason about Commonwealth countries is not good enough. 
After all, how different can medical systems be? Do we not give those with high cholesterol statins, and those with diabetes insulin? Any other administrative differences can be worked on quickly, and I’m pretty sure the medical system in India vs Singapore isn’t identical either. 
My real question is, does it make sense for MOHH to be so selective? 

We need doctors. Does it really make sense for us to restrict our search to one country? 

From an even broader perspective, does it really make sense for medicine schools in Singapore to be so selective when this creates shortages that have to be made up by taking in foreign graduates? Especially if some of these foreign graduates come from schools that are way less selective about who they accept into medicine? 

This is not about xenophobia. If the Indian doctors are truly the best in the world, so be it. However, how can we tell that they are the best in the world when we don’t even look elsewhere? 

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