Here’s a recap of what happened.
2 May: The Independent Singapore posted an article highlighting the remarks made by SDP’s Dr Paul Tambyah during a Labour Day conference, where he touched on the working conditions in hospitals, and hospital administrators’ seemingly nonchalant attitudes towards the issue.
Tambyah had said: “even in my own field the junior doctors tell me this and I don’t know how true it is. They say that every time they complain about conditions in the public hospital, they are told, oh you know, complain lah, you know we can hire somebody from South or Southeast Asia who is willing to work for $3000 a month.”
10 May: Dr Paul Tambyah said in a Facebook post that the Independent Singapore had “misrepresented” him, and called the article “irresponsible”.
12 May: Newly promoted Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat rebuked Dr Paul Tambyah. Defending the Independent Singapore’s article, Chee Hong Tat said that the Independent Singapore reported what Tambyah had said, and that Tambyah had made some serious allegations.
According to Chee Hong Tat, the foreign doctors whom Tambyah mentioned are under Temporary Registration, and make up less than 4% of the total doctor population in public hospitals. He also asked why did Tambyah not surface the concerns to management, and instead chose to air them at a public conference. (see the full Facebook post below).
But wait. We have a question for SMS Chee Hong Tat.
He said that the foreign doctors whom Tambyah mentioned are under Temporary Registration, and make up less than 4% of the total doctor population in public hospitals.
But a 2015 Straits Times article paints quite a different picture. According to the article, more than 25% of the doctors in the public healthcare sector (including polyclinics) are foreigners.
So does it mean that while public hospitals employ very few foreign doctors, polyclinics (incidentally, the ones where peasants like us go to) employ many more foreign doctors?
That is all.