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SMC issuing "temporary" license to foreign doctors with unaccredited degree to work here

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By: Forever Vagabond

It was reported in ST today that a doctor from Myanmar has been cleared of producing fake medical certificates to SMC (http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/judge-yangon-doctors-papers-may-not-be-fake).
The judge said that just because Dr Hnin Wai Hlaing was not on the Myanmar Medical Council’s (MMC) registration list did not mean her certificates from MMC were fake. The prosecution’s witness, an official from MMC, had earlier conceded in court that it was difficult to determine if Dr Hnin’s registration certificate was false because the MMC has many versions of the registration card.
The judge agreed with the defence that there could have been an administrative lapse on the part of MMC.
Dr Hnin accepted by SMC to work in Singapore
ST reported that Dr Hnin graduated from the University of Medicine in Yangon and worked as a doctor in Myanmar before moving to Singapore.
3To practise medicine in Singapore, all doctors need to be approved by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC), a government statutory board in-charge of medical licensing.
Apparently, SMC did not do any verification with MMC and went ahead to register Dr Hnin. She then went to work at the National Cancer Centre in SGH.
It was SGH which did a verification check with MMC. At the time, MMC replied to SGH that it did not issue a registration certificate to Dr Hnin. Subsequently, SGH terminated her contract and informed SMC in 2014.
SMC then decided to charge her for producing 2 “fake” MMC certificates to SMC for registration but as events turned out, the judge ruled otherwise. The judge felt that reasonable doubt had been raised by the defence as to the accuracy of the MMC’s manual register.
Loophole for doctors from unaccredited medical schools to practise in Singapore?
According to SMC’s own website (http://www.healthprofessionals.gov.sg/content/hprof/smc/en/leftnav/becoming_a_registereddoctor/international_medical_graduates.html), for doctors with foreign medical degree, only those who graduated from any of the below approved list of medical schools are recognised by SMC:
http://www.healthprofessionals.gov.sg/content/dam/hprof/smc/docs/becoming_registered_doctor/Second%20Schedule%20-%20Registrable%20Basic%20Medical%20Qualifications.pdf
University of Yangon is not in the list. SMC specifically stated in red on its website:
“The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) would like to highlight that International Medical Graduates who do not hold qualifications which are recognised by the SMC, will not be eligible to apply for medical registration to practise in Singapore. This applies to all applicants.”
Then on the last line comes the caveat. SMC also said:
“Doctors who do not meet the criteria for conditional registration may apply for temporary registration, subject to existing criteria for temporary registration.”
Indeed, a search in SMC’s registry shows that a number of doctors from Myanmar armed only with a medical degree from University of Yangon were given “temporary registration” by SMC. For example, these 2 doctors from Myanmar were given “temporary registration” to work as medical practitioners in Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong:
4It seems like in order to satisfy the demand for doctors in coping with the explosive growth of Singapore population in recent years, SMC is resorting to issuing “temporary registration” for doctors with unaccredited 3rd world medical degrees so as to circumvent the strict criteria for “conditional registration” and “full Registration” (conditionally registered doctors are supervised – they can apply for full registration after they have fulfilled a specified period of service).
Regardless of the “temporary registration” status, these foreign doctors are now practising medicine here in our public hospitals with unaccredited medical degrees.
So, for the parents who have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their children study medicine overseas because they weren’t selected by our local medical schools, it may perhaps be easier and cheaper for them to send their children to those unaccredited 3rd world medical schools like University of Yangon instead.

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