In 2007, over 400,000 international patients came to Singapore for medical treatment. Apart from being a leading medical tourism destination, Singapore is also rapidly becoming a global centre for medical research and education. The government aims to attract 1 million medical tourists by 2012, which could generate some 13,000 new jobs in the healthcare industry.
Singapore''s importance as a premier medical hub looks set to grow, as S$900 million will be spent to upgrade healthcare infrastructure over the next five years. There are currently 28 hospitals and specialty centres here, but more have been planned to cater to growing demand. For instance, the 550-bed Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun will be completed in 2010, while a new general hospital will open in Jurong before 2015. There are also plans to build more community hospitals and boost capabilities in treating chronic diseases like stroke, heart and kidney failure, as well as age-related conditions like dementia.
Major changes are also in store for existing facilities. A new Pathology Building will boost laboratory services at the Singapore General Hospital by 50%, while the Communicable Diseases Centre will be redeveloped to house a National Public Health Laboratory and an Infectious Diseases Research Centre. In February 2008, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed that integration and efficient resource management would be the main theme of other medical institutions planned for Singapore.
One main reason for the extensive expansion of infrastructure is Singapore''s growing and ageing population. As Singapore''s population crosses the 5.5 million mark, new medical facilities will have to be built. Longer life expectancy will also put a strain on the healthcare industry if capabilities are not expanded.
Naturally, more manpower will be required to operate these facilities. An additional $1 billion will be used over the next five years to recruit and train more healthcare professionals, ranging from doctors and nurses to pharmacists and physiotherapists. The government''s commitment to investing in well-qualified staff essentially translates to a wealth of job opportunities for healthcare professionals all over the world.
The range of jobs available in the healthcare industry is vast. Whether you are a dietician, radiographer, podiatrist or speech therapist, your talents are bound to be sought after, as Singapore has over 2,000 healthcare establishments providing a wide spectrum of medical services. Most patients seek primary treatment at outpatient polyclinics or private medical practitioners'' clinics. On the other hand, treatment for more serious ailments is provided in public and private hospitals.
Currently, there are 30,000 employees in the healthcare industry, of which more than 6,700 are medical doctors delivering quality healthcare in a dual system of public (notably SingHealth and National Healthcare Group) and private sector players. To practise as a doctor in Singapore, you first have to secure a job with one of the healthcare institutions here, followed by registering with the Singapore Medical Council. There are four types of medical registration for doctors, namely provisional, conditional, temporary or full registration. If you are a specialist, you will also need to get accredited by the Specialist Accreditation Board (SAB). Most overseas specialist training programmes in the US, UK, Canada and Australia are recognised by the SAB, so if you happen to be a medical professional who graduated from these countries, getting accredited should be a breeze.
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