TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) plans to amend the Physicians Act by implementing a screening test and lowering the quota for dental clinical practicums for foreign diploma holders, which may affect students’ decisions to study medicine or dentistry abroad, UDN reported.
Medical and dental students who graduated from institutions in the EU, Japan, the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, or Hong Kong are exempted from a screening test held by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which under the current law is required for holders of diplomas issued in other countries. The proposed new version of the law would require them to pass the screening test before taking their physician exams and participating in clinical practicums.
The MOHW is also mulling lowering the quota for dental clinical practicums for holders of foreign dental diplomas to control the supply of dentists. Wang Peng-hao (王鵬豪), head of the Department of Mental and Oral Health, said that the dentist to population ratio in Taiwan is already 1:1677, while the ideal number is between 1:1900 to 1:2000, according to the National Health Research Institute.
The MOHW said that the proposed amendment is still at the conceptual stage. However, the decision may eventually affect students who are considering pursuing their medical or dental diplomas overseas.
The deputy chief executive of the Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation (THRF), Chu Hsien-kuang (朱顯光), said that the government should also take population growth and aging populations in rural areas into consideration, which may cause the demand for dentists to increase, instead of just looking at the aggregated statistics.