By Lim CJ
I refer to the recent MOH campaign “Care to Go Beyond” Click on http://www.caretogobeyond.sg/
There is a slogan “Make the Switch – you are never too late (or too old) to care”
The following observations are which I strongly feel that MOH should address these issues before they launch an advertising to promote these careers.
1) Speech Therapist, Respiratory Therapist, Orthodist, Podiatrist, Dietitian, Perfusionist, Physio Therapist and Radiographer –
Why Doesn’t MOH Increase / Set Up the Number of Local Tertiary Institutions and Offer These Courses?
From the website, these professions are offered at a Diploma level. To be a fully fledged Podiatrist, Perfusionist, Dietitian, an advanced degree is needed so that one can accredited.
So far, MOH can only offer scholarships to the best and brightest so that they can study overseas and be bonded.
For the academically normal people who may have the heart to serve patients but do not have the grades to make it for scholarship, they may have to use their own savings to study overseas to be a podiatrist, therapist or radiographer.
There is a shortage of these people in their profession and as a result, many hospitals hire Pinoys to be perfusionist, radiographer and therapists etc to fill up the shortages.
If MOH is really sincere about increasing the numbers of in this profession, why doesn’t MOH look into setting up accreditated courses to attract the non-scholars to study in this profession?
2) Medical social workers.
WDA has also a PCP Professional Conversion Program to convert people to be medical social workers.
However, my friend who is studying in UniSim as a social worker disclosed that there are very few PCP social workers (as few as 5 or 6) in each cohort. If that is true, it is a waste of taxpayers money for WDA to splurge so much advertising dollars to promote their Professional Conversion Programme but can only sponsor less than 10 people for their programmes.
Their advertising campaigns are on Clear Channel, Yahoo News, SPH and this costs a lot of money. The ends don’t justify their means.
3) Laboratory Technologists. From the website http://www.caretogobeyond.sg/, it mentioned that NUS, NTU and most polytechnics offer this course.
Based on this, it is very unlikely that there is a shortage of in this profession. From what I know, there are as many as a few hundred graduating students who can become laboratory technologists.
However, from insider knowledge, running a laboratory has high operating costs. One of those reagents to run the biochemical machines and those deep freezers can put a high price.
I attended some job interviews with Recruit Express and the recruitment consultants also acknowledged that most laboratory managers prefer fresh diploma holders as they do the same job scope as degree level holders and are cheaper.
An interesting question was when the Recruit Express consultant asked if I am able to speak Cantonese. She said that many Malaysians have infested NUH laboratories and if I can speak Cantonese, my chances are higher.
It was a well known open secret that NUH prefers to hire Malaysians as many of their hiring people are already Singapore PRs. She disclosed that even with a degree, it is best to benchmark my salary to below S$2500 a month as some Malaysians with a MDIS degree can only command S$2500 a month in NUH Laboratory.
Therefore, it would probably explain the phenomenon why some hospitals such as Parkway and private laboratories such as Quest and Innovative Diagnostics prefer to hire Pinoys because they are cheaper and more willing to work the shifts.
My friend in Health Sciences Authority also disclosed that her lab manager was ‘coerced’ to hire Pinoys to keep her lab operating costs down.
My mother, being naive, was glad that MOH decided to open 6 new hospitals which may mean more job opportunities for me.
I think that one has to be realistic.
By that time, I would be too old to even join a new hospital. Although most hospitals HR would like to think of themselves as non-discriminating in terms of age, any employer would also be wary of an older staff with a baggage and create tension with a younger group of staff.
To be conservative, an employer would definitely prefer to hire a younger staff rather than risk it and hire someone older.