Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Future of Too Many Doctors - A Grave Concern for Medical Students

This note is partly a message to all medical students, SMMAMS members or not, and partly a reply to Jawing’s note: Too many medical graduates - whose fault is it ( which I think is very sincere and brilliant. We are all in the same situation. I believe we have the same concerns about our future. I guess all of you have been aware of the issue now. For those who are not, you can read the front story of the STAR on November 27th:

Many have proposed that we gather all the medical student representatives in our country in an open discussion. It was such a disappointment that we (SMMAMS) actually thought out that exact idea during our last meeting, but in the end we never got the idea across to MMA anyway. I guess ideas are ideas. Anyone can come up with great ideas on a long drive home, but little come out of their cars and actually do something about it.

I don’t usually fall to the noose of pessimism, but let’s start with a reality check. Not to dampen down our spirits, no, not at all. But at least to know what we are dealing with. So let’s face it: It would be a tough ride for us, medical students to change the policy of the government regarding the issue of ‘too much medical graduates’. If you have been reading Berita MMA, MMA’s stance towards this issue is clear. As written in one of the issues, they have ‘grave’ concerns over this matter. The current President, Dr. David Quek clearly states that that the government is producing ‘too much, too fast and too soon’. Berita MMA is the voice of MMA. Obviously it has the momentum to at least catch the attention of policy makers. Someone in the MMA must have at least talked about this issue to the policy makers. But why are they (the policy makers) not listening?

Now that’s the MMA. Now let’s get our attention to another organization, or more appropriately, council, which should have more influence than the MMA: The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC). Someone I know very well is in the Malaysian Medical Council. From my talks with him, MMC has been concerned over this issue for a long, long time. The have predicted that this would happen (Duh, what’s too predict anyway? It’s so easy to see that the way things are going, we’re producing doctors like clone armies in Star Wars. At least clone armies just have to learn how to shoot, not to SAVE LIVES). Surely someone in the MMC is involved with the Ministry of Health, or Ministry of Higher Education. But why have not things changed?

I would like to quote from Jawing’s note:

“Even then, the problem persists. Who is to blame? Why are there not enough groups and individuals giving the government the proper advice?”

I’m sorry but there are enough groups and individuals giving the government proper advice. Not just any groups, but the 2 MOST prominent groups in Malaysia when it comes to healthcare. Still, they are not listening, and nothing has changed.

So why are they not listening?

That’s the question we want to answer. If we were to start out on a campaign that’s the question we must first answer. Before starting on a campaign, we must first seek a strategy that works. A good start is by abandoning strategies that DOESN’T work. As we have seen, using the name of MMA or MMC, getting their influence won’t work. They have been trying, and yet failed. We must be presented as MEDICAL STUDENTS OF ALL MEDICAL SCHOOLS IN MALAYSIA. The strength of SMMAMS is not in it's affiliation with the MMA, its strength lies in its ability to represent all medical students of Malaysia. But for now, we don't really have that strength. We still need support from many more medical schools that have not affiliated with SMMAMS

SMMAMS needs to represent all medical students of Malaysia if we were to embark on a journey of change. Getting more support from medical student bodies will help us gain momentum. How do we go about it? Gathering of medical student leaders? Create groups? Spread newsletters? Direct talks? That’s what we need to discuss. We can discuss in the SMMAMS FB ( ) or the group Voices of Our Heart ( ). We need to know our direction. I can’t give you the idea of solving this problem, my idea is from a single mind. But with the gathering of all your creative minds, I believe we will come to a solution. Everything starts with ideas. The gathering of ideas, when fully formed, fully understood, will show us the path we should head to. It doesn’t matter if you are a leader of your medical school’s student organization or you’re without a title, come join in our discussion. Let’s make a change. We may just be medical students in white coats, but with our efforts together, we will be sharper than the scalpel knife. We can stop this disaster and start saving lives.

Mohd Lutfi Fadil bin Lokman
Vice Chairman, SMMAMS

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