Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Too many medical graduates, whose fault is it?

[Source:!/notes/jawing-chunggat/too-many-medical-graduates-whose-fault-is-it/474619314547 ]
''PETALING JAYA: The number of medical housemen undergoing clinical training in most government hospitals has increased and this has given rise to concern that they may not get sufficient experience.

With new medical schools opening up locally and lower fees being offered at new institutions abroad, around 4,000 Malaysian medical students are expected to graduate annually from 350 universities all over the world in the coming years.

Senior Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) consultant physician Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran said each specialist was supervising four times as many housemen compared to a decade ago.

“Five years ago, one houseman looked after 10 patients in hospital wards at any one time but now it is one to four patients,” said Dr Jeyaindran, who is HKL department of medicine head and national head for medicine at the Health Ministry.

“The concern is that these interns are seeing fewer patients and hence, have fewer opportunities to carry out adequate procedures. In some hospitals, there are more housemen than patients.”'' -THE STAR

This issue has been alarming the medical profession in the recent years now and the realisation towards its potential damage towards medical graduates in the future has slowly gained traction.

By now, many of us has understood that this is a crisis. Medical students, Housemans, Medical Officers, Specialists, Medical Practitioners, and the Health Ministry are all aware that this may come as a problem in the future. Thousands of medical graduates are produced each year, and the number is exponentially increasing. The domino effect of which will lead to a decline in the quality of future doctors due to insufficient training. All this has been established from various newspaper reports, articles and blogs.

However, the bigger issue is - who is at fault and what are we doing to mitigate this potential disaster?

The Health Ministry apparently is aware of the problem and are still approving more and more medical schools to be set up in Malaysia, the recent one would be the Perdana University. Read here-->

And the Government has also resorted to an attempt to mitigate the lack of specialists to train the large hoarde of freshly graduated doctors by employing more foreign medical officers. Read here-->

So we can see that despite acknowledging the issue, the government persists on producing more medical graduates per year without taking into account whether this might jeopardise the quality and standard of care that a medical doctor can provide for our fellow rakyat.

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

Society of Malaysian Medical Association Medical Students (SMMAMS) seem to think that it is the medical student's fault for being ignorant and apathetic,

'What do Malaysian medical students feel about this issue? Are you worried? If yes, are you trying or thinking to do something? Or simply post link in Facebook and complain over Facebook? Many of us are still in the delusion that medical doctors are guaranteed a job in the MOH hospital once we graduate. Yes, the guarantee might still apply for graduates till 2015, but this might not apply for graduates after 2015,''

As a medical student, allow me to respond to SMMAMS and allow me to speak on behalf of all other medical students in Malaysia that echoes my views.

I believe SMMAMS represent the medical student body of the entire nation, or at least that is what they claim to be. If this is the case, then how is it possible that the student body responsible of being the voice of the medical students nationwide, pointing fingers at the students for being ignorant of this problem?

It has been evident in various newspaper reports and articles that the overflow of medical graduates will cause a problem. The medical students already know this and they understand the problem. Thus, why is it that SMMAMS not issuing an official statement to admit that they recognise the problem and subsequently forwarding suggestions to the Ministry of Health on what measures can be taken to counter this possible crisis?

What is the role of SMMAMS in this entire charade?

I implore SMMAMS to take the appropriate steps to improve on this issue and perhaps stop pointing fingers. The power is with SMMAMS. An individual medical student like myself cannot change the system. However an organisation like SMMAMS, a student body and sister affiliate to Malaysian Medical Association(MMA), can. SMMAMS is the collective voice of medical students nationwide. The power is with them, and many of us believe that SMMAMS must speak up!!! We support you and the ball is now in your court.

Jawing Ak. Chunggat
4th Year Medical Student

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