MP Leon Perera

Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for Health in each year from 2017 to 2022 (a) what percentage of locally trained medical doctors from each graduating cohort are accepted into residency programmes; (b) what percentage of those who did not receive places in residency programmes continue to remain in the public hospitals after completing their bond and for how long; and (c) of those who left the public hospitals after completing their bond, what types of careers have they pursued.

Mr Ong Ye Kung: We need doctors of varying skillsets to meet the healthcare needs of Singaporeans. As our population ages, we will increase our focus on preventive care in the community through the Healthier SG strategy. Hence, beyond hospital specialists, we will need to train more doctors to be Family Physicians. Both are offered as residency programmes.

Between 2017 and 2021, about 53% out of the average annual cohort of about 420 local medical graduates were matched to a residency training position. While doctors are eligible to apply to start training from the second year of their graduation, the application process is competitive, and it may take several years before they join residency. About 96% of the 400 residency training positions offered each year are filled by locally trained doctors and foreign trained locals.

Many doctors continue in public healthcare institutions after their bond. They do broad-based practice in a hospital setting, and the Ministry of Health supports their development of broad-based clinical skills through the Hospital Clinician scheme. Others practice in our polyclinics, which serves as important training and primary care sites.

As for doctors who leave the public healthcare institutions, we do not track their career path. A proportion go into primary care as General Practitioners or may continue their post-graduate training in Family Medicine. These doctors are an integral part of our healthcare system and are essential to the success of the Healthier SG strategy.

Ministry of Health
7 February 2023

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