The case for establishing a second medical school in Singapore is strong. Given the recent explosive advances in medicine and biology, Singapore has identified the life sciences as an area of great economic potential, and aspires to become a regional “medical hub” capable of achieving excellence in healthcare, medical education and biomedical research. The existing medical faculty at the National University of Singapore is currently taking in 230 students per year, creating a very heavy teaching load which, coupled with even heavier clinical duties, makes it extraordinarily difficult for staff members to derive professional satisfaction and to pursue research interests. Creating a second medical school will alleviate some of these problems, which have contributed in no small way to the exodus of experienced clinicians and teachers to the private sector. Perhaps more importantly, having a second medical school will permit direct comparisons of the relative merits of different approaches to medical education, healthcare, and administrative practices. This in turn should lead to improvements in all these areas, thereby creating working environments more likely to satisfy staff aspirations, improve medical education and enhance research. Concerns about possible “unhealthy competition” and “costly duplication” with the establishment of a second medical school are largely unfounded if resources are managed appropriately.
Singapore has had only one medical school since 1905. This medical school, the Medical Faculty in the National University of Singapore (NUS), currently takes in about 230 students each year and its primary task is to train physicians for the entire nation. The NUS Medical Faculty is also involved in substantial biomedical research and, together with the existing research institutes, helps in the training of biomedical research manpower for the country.
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