Fri, Apr 17, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Foreign studies need checks: DOH

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) yesterday proposed that those who attend medical school in a foreign country be required to do an internship at a Taiwanese hospital, pass national exams and pass a separate verification of their foreign degrees before practicing in Taiwan.

Yeh said the department wanted to amend Article 4 of the Physician’s Act (醫師法) to introduce the requirements.

“As long as you can pass this screening mechanism in Taiwan, you can practice as a certified physician no matter where you graduated,” Yeh said.

The minister made the remarks at a meeting of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee yesterday morning.

Whether students who studied medicine in Poland should be allowed to practice medicine in Taiwan has been a matter of debate and remained a key issue yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Li-huan (楊麗環) said the screening requirements should apply to all medical school students rather than only those who had obtained medical degrees abroad.

“It should be a fair game and I believe this [screening] shouldn’t be a problem for those who graduate from local medical schools,” Yang said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator David Huang (黃偉哲) agreed, saying he supported the requirements.

“This mechanism would help anchor job opportunities for those who graduate from local medical schools,” Huang said.

KMT Legislator Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) said the government was being unfair to those studying medicine in Poland.

The Ministry of Education had promised those students their degrees would be recognized now that Poland is a member of the EU, Hsu said.

If the department had doubts about the quality of Polish medical schools, it should have warned these students earlier, she said.

“I think it is not fair for these students studying in Poland,” Hsu said.

In response to lawmakers’ comments, Yeh said the department would ensure that its requirements were fair.

He said an increasing number of medical students would likely choose Polish universities because compared with other options abroad, the entry requirements were easier.

The department will welcome those students to practice in Taiwan once they have met requirements, he said, adding that the same applied to those who graduated from medical schools in other countries.

“The only controversial part of the matter will be ... whether the exams are too difficult,” Yeh said.

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