Singapore is planning to hire 180 junior doctors from India over the next three years, a move questioned by many, according to a media report.

A tender set to close on October 10 states a target to recruit 60 medical officers from India yearly from 2022 to 2024, with the possibility of extending the plan to 2025.

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Singapore has been recruiting doctors from overseas to ease the "heavy workload" here and to supplement its healthcare capacity needs, said MOH Holdings, a company of Singapore’s public healthcare institutions.

Confirming the tender, the firm said it was not only recruiting doctors from India but also Australia and Britain.

The company said it is looking for candidates who graduated from medical schools listed in the Medical Registration Act.

"These doctors will only be granted conditional registration for clinical practice under strict supervision," it added.

"Priority is given to locals who graduate from medical schools recognised by the Singapore Medical Council," the company said.


Several online users earlier questioned the decision to "import" Indian doctors, with some expressing their worries about fake certification.

Others asked why Singapore could not simply increase the intake of students in medical schools here instead.

The tender also drew concern within the medical fraternity here.

In a post on social media late last month, Associate Professor Jeremy Lim from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health said developed countries, such as Singapore recruiting health professionals from overseas creates a concern that "the rich world hires away scarce resources from less well-staffed countries".

Medical staff intake

The MOHH said it recruits about 700 junior doctors each year, 90 per cent of whom are Singapore residents, who were either trained in Singapore’s medical schools or returning Singaporeans who graduated from recognised overseas medical schools.

The country has increased the domestic pipeline of doctors over the years, with medical schools raising their combined intake by 45 per cent from 2012 to 2019, it said.

Between 2012 and 2019, Singapore’s medical schools increased their combined intakes by 45 per cent from 350 in 2012 to about 510 in 2019.

In addition, 40 more students were admitted in 2020 and 2021 to cater to those whose overseas studies were disrupted by Covid-19, according to the report.