Thursday, January 14, 2010

Regulate Medical Schools

Regulate Medical Schools

As a medical practitioner, I am worried by the apparent lack of leadership and control of both the Higher Education Ministry and the Health Ministry with regard to the training of new doctors in the country.

I am also alarmed by the announcement by the Perak menteri besar that the state is getting a new medical school involving an investment of RM800 million to take in 10,000 students. There seems to be no planning by those in authority in this frenzy to set up medical schools.

I would like to advise the public to think hard before enrolling at any of the medical schools. The fees are astronomical and the gain may really be a great let-down. The quality of the schools also needs to be seriously considered.

No doubt a fair proportion of private medical practitioners have lucrative practices. But how long will the good times last? It takes at least five years to complete the basic medical degree and easily another five to get any form of postgraduate qualification.

What will it be like 10 years from now? At the rate things are moving, there will be a surplus of doctors in the very near future. The compulsory service imposed by the government on new doctors will be abolished soon as there will not be enough positions in the Health Ministry for everyone.

The alarming signs are already staring at us. I came to know that there are more than 200 housemen in Hospital Besar Ipoh, and 150 or so in the Teluk Intan and Taiping hospitals.

The housemanship years are when new doctors get their real training to be doctors. The housemen need to work very hard, see many patients and learn to make critical and quick decisions under supervision.

After their posting, and if the consultants think that they have got enough training and have performed satisfactorily, they can register as fully qualified medical practitioners.

I don't believe our hospitals can give adequate training to new medical graduates if their numbers are too big. I heard that in some wards the housemen outnumber the patients. How then, can the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) accord these newly qualified doctors full registration?

If, one day, the MMC takes its responsibility seriously, the number of houseman posts will be curtailed and there may not be enough posts for all the medical graduates churned out by all the medical schools here and also those returning from Indonesia, Russia, etc.

Those interested in becoming doctors should note that without satisfactorily completing the housemanship, the MBBS/MD degree holder cannot practise as a doctor.

If a local medical graduate cannot get a housemanship post to do medical training and register as a medical practitioner, the few hundred thousand ringgit spent to get the degree will go down the drain.

It is unlikely that any medical degree issued by local medical schools can gain international recognition. The medical graduate cannot expect to be able to get a job outside Malaysia. Please be forewarned that new graduates with MBBS/MD qualifications may end up looking for jobs just like any other graduate.

I appeal to anyone who aspires to join the medical profession to really consider whether it is wise to spend so much money on some dubious medical course and end up having an MBBS/MD qualification but be not fully registered.


DR G.K.C
Ipoh

Source: Letters to the Editor, New Straits Times, Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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Rachiel said...

It is best to regulate and by regulation means doing something to make things better.

Rachiel from

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