Taipei, Jan. 8 (CNA) Taiwan will make it harder in the future for Taiwanese with degrees from medical schools in other countries to get a license in Taiwan to practice medicine, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Monday.
Shih Chung-liang (石崇良), head of the ministry's Department of Medical Affairs, said it will soon adopt a new accreditation system that will apply to students who enroll in medical schools in other countries after January 2017.
The new rules will not be retroactively applied, Shih said.
Under the new rules, Taiwanese who study medicine overseas must graduate from schools on the reference list of the Ministry of Education and they must study medicine for a certain period of time.
Taiwanese students enrolled in overseas departments of medicine or dentistry must study for at least six years, as is the practice in Taiwan, and those who have already obtained a bachelor's degree must study medicine for at least another four years, Shih said.
Students studying abroad who have not received comprehensive medical training, including clinical courses as an intern, or who were not admitted to medical schools through regular channels, cannot be accredited, Shih said.
Students who study in countries that do not give "reciprocal recognition" to Taiwanese medical students or who are not eligible to take exams in the country in which they study will also not be accredited, he said.
Shih said that if the students don't meet the accreditation criteria, they will not be able to take part in Taiwan's qualification exams, irrespective of the countries or regions from which they graduate.
Medical diplomas from China are currently not included in Taiwan's accreditation system, and therefore no Chinese medical personnel or people who study medicine in China can take exams in Taiwan to practice medicine.
Shih said that if Taiwanese students graduating from medical schools outside of Taiwan meet the basic accreditation requirements and get their degrees in nine countries or regions -- the United States, Japan, Europe, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong -- they will be able to take exams to get a license.
Students not graduating from the above nine regions and countries first must pass an accreditation exam issued by the Ministry of Education before they can take the exam for a license.
The ministry urged the public preparing to study medicine overseas to carefully assess the program to see if it meets accreditation requirements.
Shih noted that the number of students going overseas to study medicine peaked in 2009 and 2010, with the number reaching 500 to 600.
(By Chen Wei-ting and Lilian Wu)