I was flipping through the latest Berita MMA magazine (Feb 2012) today and noticed a section on ” SCHOMOS meets Bahagian Perkembangan Perubatan and Bahagian Pengurusan Latihan” http://www.mma.org.my/Portals/0/Schomos%20Feb%202012.pdf. The situation is getting very critical as you can see. Firstly, the new rule says that you need to be in service for at least 5 years ( 2 years HO and 3 years MO) in order for you to qualify for local Master’s application. I had mentioned this earlier in my blog posting http://pagalavan.com/2012/03/01/for-future-doctors-government-doctors-salary/. Our current DG has come up with few more new rules and regulations.
Recently I received an email from a doctor saying that the DG has asked HODs not to sign up for any candidates who wants to sit for MRCP Part 3 if they have not spent at least 1 year in a medical department. I feel it is fair and it is very important for you to undergo adequate training before becoming a physician. In UK, MRCP is just an entrance exam for speciality training. The previous rule of at least 4 years of medical training ( includes 18 months of gazettement) before being gazetted as a specialist still stays but it was not strictly enforced before. I heard, it is being strictly enforced now.
The latest news is that you need to wait for atleast 2 years after gazettement before going for subspeciality training. Initially I thought the 2 years included the gazettement period but I was wrong! Even though it is good for the specialist to master the general speciality before going for subspeciality training, worldwide the duration of training is being shortened. I feel it is way too long.This means that to enter subspeciality training the total duration of service will be a minimum of 8 years for MRCP holders with subsequent 3 years training to become a sub-specialist ( total 11 years minimum), assuming you get your sub-speciality post immediately which is rather unlikely in popular specialities. As for Masters, with the implementation of the above 2+3 criteria, it will take 11 years of service before being able to enter subspeciality training with a total of 14 years to become a sub-specialist!! Remember that other than MRCP( internal medicine), MRCPCH(paediatric) and MRCOG ( Obstetrics and Gynaecology), the only way to become a specialist is via the local Master’s programme.
The SCHOMOS article also says that it is compulsory for newly gazetted specialist to serve rural area , namely Sabah and Sarawak for atleast 6 months as I have written before http://pagalavan.com/2012/02/08/for-future-doctors-panduan-penempatan-dan-pertukaran/. As you can see, what I have been saying all this while is becoming a reality. Our postgraduate education will not be able to cope with the glut of doctors that are being produced. Thus, the knee jerk reaction by our great administrators will be to prolong the training period, force people to serve certain areas and increase the bonding periods ( you will be bonded 5-7 years for Masters and 3-5 years for subspeciality training).
The “Foot in the Mouth syndrome” that is happening for the nurses now, will soon hit the medical field. Then our great minister will say ” we need specialist but the medical colleges are only producing general training doctors. That’s why we have surplus of doctors!!” WTH.
The storm is coming and it will hit us hard. The way I see it, there’s going to be a huge number of “chronic ” medical officers running around without postgraduate opportunity ( only 10% will get it). Of course, many may not even get a job soon!