After almost 6 months of planning and almost weekly meeting since February 2014, the 54th MMA AGM is finally over! We had a wonderful weekend with almost 400+ doctors attending the AGM held at Persada Convention Centre, Johor Bahru. The committee especially the Secretary Dr Mohan and Treasurer Dr Guruparan played the most important role in running this AGM. Despite many pharma companies declining to participate, we still manage to get close to 50 booths for the event. Despite some initial glitches, we manage to end the event with a wonderful Informal Night themed “Arabian Nights”.
Many interesting discussions took place during the AGM. MMA AGM usually gives an opportunity for many doctors to come together and meet each other. I manage to meet and discuss many issues regarding medical education and the future of medical life in Malaysia with many senior & junior people in MMA and MOH. I also manage to meet and be reunited with my 2003-2005 SCHOMOS Johor committee members DR Nirven ( who I last met 5 years ago) and Dr James Lew (selfie below).
The MMA Oration was given by Dr David Quek, who is a Past President of MMA and a MMC council member. His topic was “What Ails The Medical Profession And then What Ails Our Health System? ” He reiterated the fact that we are producing too many doctors at too fast a pace. We will see surplus of doctors by 2017 and MO jobs will not be guaranteed anymore. The government has finally come to realise this fact and making steps to minimise the “complications”. MOH and MMC is seriously considering either an entrance exam or an exit exam. Reducing compulsory service is also on the cards. The government cannot stop anyone from doing medicine despite the minimum entry requirement but they need not necessarily provide you a job. They also can’t close down the medical schools as it is a business and the government need to support businesses. Probably, some of them will die a natural death when surplus of doctors occurs.
Unfortunately, unless there is a standardised entry or exit exams, we would not be able to remove the poor quality doctors. WE will have surplus of doctors but how many of them will be of good quality? The situation is so bad that many specialist has given up. The shift system just made it worst. Some good hard-working housemen have openly told me that even though their fellow housemen are their friends but they would not send any of their relatives to these doctors. It looks like we are releasing many with a “license to kill”.
The article below which was published in The Star on 25/03/2014 summarised what I have been saying over the last 10 years. Too many students in too few “training” hospitals and “shop-lot” medical colleges with too few academics (diluted within 36 medical schools). Many from non-medical field do not understand all these issues. Many believe that as long as the college is attached to a hospital, it is well and good! Training in medicine is more than that!
Finally, I hope doctors will be more united in becoming MMA members, take a break and attend AGMs like this to meet one another for the betterment of the medical profession…………….
I will be off again for a Family holiday starting 8/06/2014. Hopefully I will reach Hong Kong safely……..
Docs in govt hospitals stretched by private students
BY LOH FOON FONG
PETALING JAYA: Too many private medical programmes nationwide are over-taxing public teaching hospitals.
While the Education Ministry’s university hospital teaching staff taught mainly their students, the general hospitals under the Health Ministry doubled up as teaching hospitals for private university students, resulting in a heavy workload, said a source.
“The doctors are overstretched. They have to divide time to attend to their patients, teach students from private universities and guide house officers,” said the source.
The source was concerned this would lead to students receiving little attention.
Private hospitals in Malaysia were not used as teaching hospitals as they did not have the needed case-mix (various types of patients) and high bed capacity to provide the needed training and exposure to students.
The source said the Cabinet needed to reduce the number of programmes and the number of students entering local medical schools by 70%, or get the private schools to merge and pull their teaching staff together.
Although the Government had argued that it needed to increase the number of doctors for the nation, he said there was more than enough doctors now and it was a case of uneven distribution.
In the Klang Valley – the doctor-patient ratio was 1:100 while in Sabah and Sarawak – 1:1,000, he said.
In Putrajaya, Deputy Health director-general Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran admitted there were too many students taxing the limited resources.
The ministry would have to look at the nation’s needs first before deciding if it could reduce the number of medical programmes in private universities.
He said the system could cope with 2,500 to 3,000 medical graduates a year currently and foresees some private schools subsequently closing down or merging.