The Senior Minister of State for Health, Chee Hong Tat, has criticised Professor Paul Tambyah for remarks the latter made at a public forum on 1 May.
Prof Paul is an infectious diseases specialist at the National University Hospital (NUH).
Mr Chee, posting on his Facebook page on Friday, 12 May, referred to Prof Paul’s own Facebook status update earlier which had accused The Independent (TISG) website of “misrepresentation” in reporting his remarks.
TISG had highlighted the part of his speech made at the forum, organised by employment support site Transitioning.org, in which Prof Paul related what “junior doctors” had told him with regards to the condition of “the public hospital.”
He had said at the forum: “Even in my own field, the junior doctors tell me this, and I don’t know how true it is. Every time they complain about conditions in the public hospital, they are told, ‘Oh complain lar, we can hire somebody from South or Southeast Asia who is willing to work for $3,000 a month’.”
Mr Chee, in his reaction to Prof Paul’s Facebook note, questioned why the latter did not raise the matter or complaints with the management, or clarified the issue with the junior doctors, and had instead “chose to repeat unsubstantiated allegations at a public conference.”
“It begs the question why Prof Tambyah repeated serious allegations regarding his healthcare sector colleagues when he did not know if these were true,” Mr Chee said.
“I find it disturbing that as a senior doctor, Prof Tambyah does not see anything wrong with this behaviour,” the minister added.
Mr Chee called on Prof Paul to disclose “the names of the administrators and what exactly they said to the junior doctors.”
“We will certainly look into the matter,” the minister said.
In his Facebook post, Prof Paul Tambyah said that The Independent Singapore (TISG) had misrepresented his remarks on…
Prof Paul, according to the Straits Times, said that he had raised the issue with the administrator in question “dozens of times” but to no avail.
The professor also reportedly said that his forum comments “are not untrue” and can be substantiated in several doctor chat groups, the Straits Times reports.
As for the foreign doctors who work in our public hospitals, Mr Chee explained who they actually are.
“For the record, the foreign doctors whom Paul Tambyah mentioned are under Temporary Registration, they currently make up less than 4% of our doctor population in the public hospitals.
“Temporary Registration is granted by the Singapore Medical Council for training and for visiting experts. There are similar arrangements in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.
“While these doctors may supplement the hospital’s workforce during their temporary stint in Singapore , they are not here to replace or compete with our local doctors.”