Things to know before applying for fellowships in Singapore.
- Fellowship providing hands-on experience are not less 12 months and shall require registration. Hands-off observership positions are from 2 weeks to 28 days, and for 6 months, with no extension. The shorter 28 days observer ship do not require SMC (Singapore Medical Council) registration and is self-sponsored. For duration greater than 28 days SMC registration is compulsory.
All fellowships are initially given temporary registration. All registrars are be initially given provisional registration ( if the medical degree/FRCR is not recognized with SMC) or conditional registration if the medical degree/FRCR is recognized in SMC
- Generally, a candidate should apply in advance 6-8 months before the preferred date of attachment.
- Not every hospital pays a monthly stipend for fellow. It advisable to enquire about the financial responsibility the hospital is willing to take of a candidate and remuneration being paid. Singapore is an expensive country to live in. Sustaining yourself through a self-paid fellowship won’t be a commercially viable option unless you are fully sponsored.
- The average cost of living is roughly 3000-4000 Singapore Dollars/ month if you are a frugal spender. That’s roughly the amount paid as basic stipend by the willing hospitals. Additional call duties may be paid You won’t be able to save much.
- Housing rentals will make up the most of your monthly expenditure. Shared accommodation would be an ideal choice. The revised minimal rental contract period in Singapore is 3 months of consecutive stay. For shorter observership of 28 days, you may have to choose between hotel, hostel or close relative for accommodation.
International medical graduate seeking fellowship course in Singapore are eligible for temporary registration only. Human resource staff or fellowship desk of the respective hospital will closely coordinate with you during the process of registration and guide you as and when it is required.
Following are some issues that may potentially affect the processing time of your medical council registration.
- The certificate of good standing (CGS) has three months of validity from the date of issue. It has to be applied at the Medical Council of India through the respective state medical council. An original CGS is to be received by Singapore Medical Council through the Medical Council of India only. The processing time takes roughly one month from the date of application to the receipt of the CGS. By the time the SMC receives the CGS, its validity is already reduced in transit. Assuming that all the paperwork is in order and no additional delay pops up due to inadequate documentation, the CGS should still be valid by the time SMC receives it. If for any unavoidable reason the registration process gets delayed beyond 2-3months, the validity of the received CGS gets exhausted and a fresh application needs to be made which will further delay your My advice is not to apply for CGS so early in the process. Do it when most of the other documents are accepted by SMC and are deemed adequate.
- The documentary evidence of internship training with details on the period spent in each discipline is a must in addition to the internship completion certificate awarded by respective local medical universities. However unpleasant the detailed account of hardships during internship may be for some, the internship logbook or the certified true copy of the same is a prerequisite. The longer the gap between your internship completion and fellowship application, the harder it is to find the logbook! So keep it in a safe place.
- The council also needs you to declare any break in employment or gap in education in the preceding three years before the application. A self-declaration letter citing the reason, the length of gap taken, admission into any other educational course in that specified period needs to be submitted to SMC. This is to know your inactivity from clinical practice.
- The MBBS degree certificate and certificate of additional qualification as rewarded by local medical universities generally do not carry the exact date of conferment of the degree. This may be a bone of contention with the two councils. As most of the other overseas medical councils do not ask for date of conferment of degree, the respective medical university may not provide it to SMC. You may have to request the local medical university to add/ mention the exact date of degree conferment in the Letters Of Degree Verification when replying to the SMC. My registration had gotten inordinately delayed because of this particular issue following which the validity of my CGS got exhausted which lead to further delay (refer to suggestion 1).
- The council will require certificates of service or service testimonials for work experience in the preceding three years from the supervising Medical Doctors or Institutions concerned, indicating the grade of employment, nature of work, a period of employment, and assessment of work performance. Emphasis should be on describing your “nature of work” which should include the modalities you are exposed to, average number of daily cases you report, your working hours, your level expertise in each modality etc.
If the documentation is complete and in order, the processing time is the shortest. For approved cases, candidates are required to appear in person with all original document and identification papers. Upon successful registration it is important to get malpractice insurance cover as quickly as possible if your fellowship allows you to participate in active patient care.Malpractice insurance is mandatory for all hands on fellowship which allows you to do reporting or interventions. In an institution you will be put under direct supervision of a senior and your work shall be reviewed on regular basis.
I hope above suggestions help you with admission into your desired fellowship positions and registration with the medical council. Wish you good luck!
– Vishal Gaikwad, Singapore
PS: You can check our other blogs on training abroad in our section ‘Beyond the Shores’.