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Last week, I was watching ANC (the ABS-CBN News Channel) on TV.  The show was “Crossroads” with Tony Velasquez.  Crossroads is a weekly news show that goes in depth and talks to guests about topics in the news.  Something similar to what you might see on Sunday Morning TV in the United States.  Crossroads airs on a weeknight here, though.  It is generally a good show, though, in my opinion.

When I watched the show last week, the subject that was being discussed was whether foreign doctors should be allowed to practice medicine in the Philippines.  I was under the impression that foreign doctors could practice medicine here, as you often see foreign medical groups coming to the Philippines to give charity medical assistance here.  Apparently, though, according to this show, this is not the norm.  Such charitable events are only allowed from time to time with special permission.  An individual doctor from abroad cannot legally practice medicine here.

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I must say that this has suprised me, because we are constantly hearing about the shortage of medical experts here in the Philippines.  Not enough Nurses, because they are all going overseas to make bigger money.  Doctors are downgrading their degrees to become nurses so that they can also go abroad.  Perhaps after being a nurse they will be able to become a doctor overseas, but even if they can only remain as nurses, that is a better life for them than being a doctor in the Philippines, or so they say.  So, if the country is having a shortage of doctors, why can’t foreigners practice medicine here if they are so qualified?

As I saw this, I got thinking about the medical situation in the Philippines.  In major cities like Davao, Manila or Cebu, there does not seem to be any shortage of medical professionals.  No matter what the specialty, it seems easy to find a good doctor here.  But, what I hear a lot is that if you go out into more rural areas, doctors have become few and far between.  If this is the case, and there are foreign doctors who want to fill the gap, why not?

Here is another thing that came to mind.  Think about it… who makes the laws in the Philippines?  Of course, the laws are made by the elected representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and they are implemented by the President.  Now, I think we can all agree that these people are generally wealthy.  You don’t get elected to those positions if you have no money.  When wealthy people in the Philippines get sick, in most cases, they go abroad for treatment.  They go to the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore or other places.  Some go to London.  Others go to Germany or somewhere else.  So, in other words, these wealthy people want treatment from foreign doctors, yet these are the same people who say that the poor people who cannot afford to travel should not be allowed access to foreign doctors.  Does that sound fair?

Personally, I believe that excellent medical care from www.health-canada-pharmacy.com is available here in the Philippines.  I have had need for medical services in the time that I’ve lived here, and I’ve never had a complaint about the care I have received, nor the level of expertise of the doctors here.  I just feel that if there is a shortage of doctors, and a deeper shortage is predicted in years to come, why not take advantage of any foreign doctors who care to practice here.

In all honesty, I doubt that the number of foreign doctors who would choose to practice here in the event that they could legally do so would be very high anyway.

photo credit: blueseal

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Larry
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Larry

Maayong Buntag Bob I was under the impression that the Philippine medical society considered it a bit of an insult that doctors from other countries come over to take care of people in the RP. There is a social organization that takes donations and repairs clef lips on children. They will send these children to Cebu city from all over the world to have this clef lip repaired. With the cheap hospital rates in Cebu they are able to help more children by having these operations in Cebu. I have talked with friends that work in this hospital and they… Read more »

Bob
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Hi Larry – Perhaps they do consider it an insult. However, there are literally millions here who need medical attention and cannot afford it. When the poor go to the hospital here they are not treated until they pay first. Now, that is an insult to the Philippine people, and it is not the foreign doctors who are perpetrating that insult.

Larry
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Larry

Bob
You make a good point. Problem is with there society structure as it is the rich people in the RP seem to have an attitude to the poor as being lower class. I have experienced people being sick and needing medical attention but had been denied the treatment needed until the down payment was received or guarantee of payment. There are many people that die every year because they could not afford a doctor or treatment. To the Filipino it is just the way it has always been.
🙁

Bob
Guest

Hi Ian – Yes, I think that pretty much jives with what I know about it. Problem is that with the cross species infection, the virus has apparently mutated in some way.

Bob
Guest

Hi Larry – I agree…. to people here, they know of no different method, so they don't realize that it is not necessarily a good method! 🙂

bobby
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bobby

Currently under Philippine law only citizens of the Philippines can apply for licensure to practice medicine in the Philippines. The Philippines has sufficient competent doctors whose skill is at par or above par than first world doctors. You just have to go to the right place. Like food in the Philippines you get what you can afford. Health care is not a right or an entitlement like what is known in the US Health care system which is not perfect. The Philippine goverment is just too poor or pretending to be too poor to afford subsidized health care. There are… Read more »

Bob
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Hi bobby – I don't have a huge argument with what you say, but I see no reason why people from other countries should not be able to practice medicine in the Philippines. Of course, they should pass the required exams and such, just as any Filipino would. I don't think that Filipino doctors should worry about the competition… after all, I doubt that there would be a stampede of doctors beating a path to practice in the Philippines.

Jack
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Hi Bob I didn't realise that this was the case and I also cannot imagine any foreign doctors wanting to come to Philippines to earn a better living. Especially given the large number of the local medical fraternity leaving the country because of the comparitavely low standard of living they receive here. I would say that the majority of those that stay behind is because of their dedication to their profession and as mentioned above, I take my hat off to those people. I know our local Doctor sometimes gets paid with chickens , fish, rice and such because thats… Read more »

Bob
Guest

Hi Jack – I also know doctors here who get paid with livestock, or sometimes don't get paid at all, and like you, I take my hat off to them. I really am a supporter of medical care in the Philippines. Like you, as well, I just believe that allowing foreigners to practice medicine would be in the best interest of the country, and the people of the Philippines.

Dan Mihaliak
Guest

Well in the US you can be banned from practicing medicine in some states while still eligible to practice in other states. Maybe they are afraid of getting the rejects.

Bob
Guest

Hi Dan Mihaliak – I'm not advocating just letting anybody with a medical license be able to practice. Make them pass exams and such, just like any doctor would. That should weed out the unqualified.

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