Drs Talk

Satisfying Career as a Polyclinic Family Doctor

I graduated from NUS in 1999, and did all my Housemanship postings in SGH. I subsequently did two general surgical postings, one emergency medicine posting and several busy medical postings in various hospitals. I subsequently did six months of palliative care posting at Dover Park Hospice and Hospice Care Association. Following that, I did Polyclinic Postings for about 18 months and am currently happily working as a Family Doctor at NHG Polyclinics (NHGP) - Clementi.

I can say without any doubt that I am quite happy working at NHGP. I say this for various reasons.

Firstly, as part of a forward-looking team with no stifling restrictions on style of practicing, including prescribing non-standard drugs when indicated, I find my work very satisfying. There are a slew of initiatives that are being gradually introduced, like Electronic Medical Records and Chronic Disease Management Database, which convinced me that I am part of one of the most progressive primary healthcare system in the world. I am able to offer my patients lab tests with stat results, e.g. ECG, fungal smear, full blood counts, and Radiography, which few General Practitioners can. I don’t have to be worried about my overheads while being confident that my patients are getting these tests at an affordable cost. Moreover, I have with me a strong support network of nurses, MSW, dietitians, pharmacists, etc who provide a much more extensive and up-to-date service than is possible by a lone practitioner. All this is immensely satisfying.

Secondly, I am able to practise evidence-based medicine based on Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines rather than being tempted to practice “state-of-the-art medicine” by using the newest available drugs. This is probably made possible by working in a group practice with constant peer review and decoupling of my compensation from the cost of my prescriptions to my patients.

Thirdly, there is a wider range of services that I can provide to my patients which would not be possible in a private setting. These services include minor surgical procedures such as H & L injections, small lumps removal, I & D of chalazions, IUCD insertion, ear syringing, FB removal, T & S, developmental assessment, childhood and adult immunisation, travel advice, smoking cessation service, weight management program, marriage counseling, general and statutory health screening, etc. This is made possible by the constant learning environment and support service network made available to at NHGP.

Just recently, I have secured sponsorship for the GDFM course from NHGP. I hope to carry on completing the M Med (Family Medicine) and am sure that NHGP will be supportive in that too. I found out just recently that there is a very structured career path for Family Physicians which includes Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP), opportunities for teaching and research and healthcare administration while still practising as a physician. All this makes me more convinced than ever that there is a bright future ahead for Family Doctors and Family Physicians in NHG Polyclinics.

by Dr Anuj Gupta, Family Doctor
NHG Polyclinics - Clementi
National Healthcare Group

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Amazing Exposure as a Medical Officer in Singapore

I am currently working in Department of Orthopaedic, Changi General Hospital as a medical officer and I am looking forward to advanced Surgical Trainee in orthopaedics after my MMed (Orthopaedic) assessment in coming March 2007. Within this year, I had been working in Java for 8 days as a volunteer worker in medical relief program for earthquake. This is an amazing exposure which was beyond my routine work in Hong Kong hospital.

I should admit that I had to work hard in Singapore. That is also the reason why I moved to Singapore, in order to pay my effort and looking forward to a good training and become an orthopaedic surgeon. Learning different races’ culture and language are also good exposures. I learnt how to respect different culture as Singapore is a place with different races living in a harmony.

by Dr Ambrose Yung
joined SingHealth in January 2006
MBBS Hong Kong

Opportunities for Career and Personal Development

I came to work in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the National University Hospital, Singapore back in 1994. What attracted me to this place was because I like a strong and able government and, having worked in the UK, USA and a third world country, that was a refreshing change.

Another reason was to take my career up to the next level. I had a wealth of clinical and teaching experience but my path to an administrative role (i.e. running an emergency department) was blocked due to a lack of opportunities. I decided to move to Singapore and was offered the opportunity to head the department at the hospital. I would like to advise foreign medical graduates who are interested to work in Singapore to pick a field that is less staffed such as biomedical sciences, cardiothoracic surgery and neurology. This way, they can make a greater contribution to the development of these specialties and gain satisfaction from being true pioneers of their respective fields in Singapore.

However, prospective applicants should know that they would be required to put in the effort and work hard in order to be able to succeed. Those who do would be to reap the rewards and be provided with ample opportunities for career and personal development. They will also be able to broaden their knowledge and gain experience in the handling many unique diseases and conditions.

by Prof Peter G Manning, Senior Consultant
Department of Emergency Medicine

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Working and Settling in Singapore

I joined the big NHG family immediately after I have completed my medical education over in New Zealand in end 2004. As a Malaysian, starting work and settling in Singapore was a challenging experience but I somehow managed to sail through most of the obstacles with the help of new friends and new colleagues. One of the most rewarding part upon completion of my houseman-ship was that I was lucky enough to be offered a Basic Specialty Training (BST) post in Internal Medicine.

As an Internal Medicine trainee, I have protected study time for many well-organised teaching sessions and self-learning besides working each week. The Joint Committee on Specialist Training (JCST) would also ensure that most, if not all trainees get their preferred postings to facilitate continuity of training in all relevant fields. All these efforts will help the trainees in pursuing their respective fields of interest throughout their medical career.

by Dr See Jian Hau, Basic Specialist Trainee in Internal Medicine, NHG
MBBS (Auckland)

Are All Singaporean Doctors Walking Medical Libraries?

I can't believe I've been working in Singapore for nine months already, still feels like I've just made the decision to move back to Asia. I was born in Hong Kong and my family moved to New Zealand when I was 13. Settling down in Singapore was relatively easy, having grown up in Asia. I also enjoyed visiting the neighbouring countries during my time off. Working in A+E at CGH was initially quite a shock, although it gets better everyday. My fellow colleagues are friendly and I really enjoyed our Friday eating or sports sessions after lessons.

During my first 2 days at work, three A&E books were recommended to me by different doctors, to "carry around all the time and read cover-to-cover". Having trained in New Zealand - possibly the most relaxed place in the world, I wondered if all Singaporean doctors are walking medical libraries. Well, shortly after, I was enjoying my reading because there were so many different patients presenting each day, each with interesting stories to tell.

by Jackie Chua

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