Time flies…… I have so much work to do and so little time to handle it. As a doctor, you will never have free time. Just when you thought you would sit down and do something, comes a phone call from the hospital. There goes your time. I always believe that family come first but being a doctor, sacrifices have to be made. If you are not ready for sacrifices, then you need to find some other course.
It is now confirmed that job is not guaranteed for doctors. All housemanship post will be given under contract. A maximum of 3 years is allocated for you to complete your housemanship. After housemanship, you will be renewed to complete your compulsory service (4 years in total including housemanship). You can apply for permanent post based on criteria mentioned in my earlier post. Whether the selection process will be transparent or not, time will tell. The latest Berita MMA had some information regarding these issues and the issues of promotion/sponsorship, after a meeting with MOH, as attached below:
Most of the issues discussed above are self-explanatory. Recently , the deputy minister of health did mention in the parliament that 2 more hospitals will join the list of housemanship training hospitals which include Hospital Shah Alam and Hospital Langkawi. Military hospitals were included this year. Interestingly, he said there are 44 medical programs in this country!! If I am not mistaken, there are close to 35 medical schools in the country but a lot of them have more than 1 intake and some have more than 1 program. So, even if we say that each program produces an average of 100 graduates, we will have close to 5K graduates locally alone, may hit as high as 6k. This coupled with those returning from overseas, the numbers may hit about 7-8K graduates. An excellent Bolehland achievement. Enough said! A recent article by Malaysian Pre-Houseman Joint (MPHJ) which I never knew existed was a good read(see below). He had summarised what I have been saying for almost 10 years.
I heard rumours that MMC will be corporatised in compliance with Amended Medical Act 2012, somewhere in July this year. It is likely that APC fee will increase and NSR registration for specialist will become mandatory(not sure who will pay for civil servants). Minimum CME points requirement will be needed for APC renewal. I heard it will be about 20 points annually. NSR renewal every 5 years will also need minimum CME points of about 100. BUT we still need to wait for the official announcement on these issues as discussion is still ongoing. Please be also informed of NSR new rule effective 2017:
General Requirement On Post Qualification Experience
Effective January 2017, applicants must have at least ONE (1) year post qualification working experience for medical related specialties/fields of practice and at least TWO (2) years for surgical related specialties/fields of practice.
This new NSR rule makes it impossible for anyone to leave to private sector immediately after post-graduate/subspecialist qualifications. Once NSR is made mandatory, only those who are NSR registered are considered a specialist. Frankly, I feel it is a good move as medicine is a life long learning process and having a qualification alone does not make you competent.
Then came several other information regarding U56 promotion and issues in KKM. This message below is nothing new but it is a very important information for doctors in civil service.
1.Only for gazetted NSR Specialist
2.5 years after gazzetemnt & 5 years after being a UD54
3.Will get around RM 2100 more than what is being earned currently by a UD 54 specialist
4. No car or petrol card given to UD56
5. Not everyone will have to go through UD56, some an jump straight to JUSA C
Other matters raised
1. No subspeciality allowance will be given once sub completed
2.Anyone can do locum but need to register/inform Pengarah
3. Doing locum – buy own insurance ( MO doing in private clinic & specialist )
4.No more contract doctors – JPA phasing out .
5.Senior consultants who retire & reemployed as contract will not be in the same hospital
6.Husband & Wife who are specialist as far as possible will not be placed in same department
7. Optimize the use of resources & consumables
8.No direct sponsorship by Pharma companies
9. Sponsorship via societies allowed , but has to be transparent – documented in the minutes of the society meeting
10.Those who want to go for voluntary medical relieve work overseas have to be registered with KKM – special form to be filled up .
11.FPP – not for foreigners
12.Pharma company reps only allowed to see HOD , should not see MOs & specialist
As you can see, life as a doctor is never going to be easy with new rules and regulation being put in place. Sometimes we doctors are to be blamed for all these issues. Greed took over some of the doctors, giving rise to unethical practices to survive. The recent press release by MMC on disciplinary actions against errant doctors is rather shocking but it is just the tip of the iceberg. The recent MACC arrest of doctors for signing heavy vehicle driving license medical certification without examining the patient is rather worrying but not surprising. At the end of the day, it is all about survival…………
Once the election is over, more surprises may be coming for doctors. …………….
Junior doctors trapped in catch-22 predicament
March 10, 2017
Unemployment is high among medical graduates because housemanship training is only provided by accredited government and university hospitals and places are scarce.
By Dr Muhammad Firdaus Syukri B Ahmad Zubaidi
In the past decade or so, the number of university graduates has soared in most professional fields. This, coupled with the current challenging global economic slowdown, has consequently led to higher unemployment among graduates.
Until recently, the medical field has been relatively spared from this crisis. With promises of guaranteed employment, more and more people have ventured into the medical field. However, unemployment has finally caught up. Many spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions, on their medical education, only to graduate and realise that the paradigm has shifted.
The past few years have witnessed an exponential increase in medical graduates produced both locally and abroad. The increment in number would not normally be as big an issue in other fields; however the medical field is unique.
A graduate interested in pursuing a career as a doctor has limited options to continue his or her junior training – in fact, they only have one. In order to be recognised to practise in a country, a graduate must obtain a full medical licence, which they receive upon completion of housemanship training.
Housemanship training is only provided by accredited government and university hospitals, and junior doctors are solely dependent on these limited training posts to continue their careers in medicine. Yet, as the number of graduates has increased in the past five years, the number of training centres and houseman posts has remained relatively static.
Inevitably, this has led to a mismatch between the number of graduates produced and the places for their training. With limited posts available, graduates now have to wait many more months before it is finally their turn to enrol into housemanship.
And as the number of medical graduates increases year by year, so does the waiting period for housemanship. Medical graduates of 2013 waited an average of three months before starting housemanship while graduates of 2016 have yet to be employed after eight months of waiting. The promise of a secure career in medicine is now a thing of the past.
The long waiting period does not come without a cost. As graduates are not able to put their knowledge into practice, their medical knowledge becomes rusty and withers by the day. Not to mention the skills learned in medical school – the art of communicating with patients and carrying out procedures such as drawing blood will surely be lost without constant practice.
Corporations and non-governmental bodies offering pre-housemanship courses have mushroomed of late, but the fees charged are steep and can only be afforded by the more affluent graduates; even then, how much can a two- to three-day crash course substantiate five years of medical school teaching?
This is probably the major cause of the ever growing complaints of poorly performing house officers, and less the “failures” of medical school programmes to nurture the passion to care and heal. House officers are doomed even before they begin work.
And when a house officer performs badly, they are viciously scolded and harassed by their superiors as mistakes in the medical profession could potentially costs lives. Is it any wonder that the rates of depressive illnesses are high among junior doctors in training?
This further leads to poor learning and poorer performances, aggravating an already vicious cycle. Poorly performing house officers have to undergo extended training, taking up posts designated for new house officer intakes and further escalating the problem of limited posts. As house officers are the first line of doctors serving in tertiary government facilities, at the end of the day it is the rakyat who bear the brunt of the housemanship crisis.
You may be wondering what most graduates do while waiting for their housemanship. According to an online survey conducted by the Malaysian Pre-Housemanship Joint, a whopping 80% of graduates remain unemployed during this waiting period.
The remaining 20% are mostly employed in part-time jobs such as tutoring, sales marketing, driving for ride-hailing services or as research assistants. Many complain that it is difficult for them to get jobs because not many companies are keen to employ medical graduates, some even citing “over qualification” as an excuse.
The frustrating and ambiguous housemanship waiting period deters employers from hiring medical graduates as they prefer hiring workers who can commit to the job for a decent period of time.
On the other hand, the uncertainty also makes it cumbersome for graduates to decide whether to take up job offers such as research assistants which require commitment for a stipulated period. These employment obstacles results in most medical graduates being without a job and faced with a looming socio-economic catastrophe.
The landscape of the medical field has changed dramatically. But the rakyat has been virtually oblivious of the severe and dramatic repercussions that have befallen junior doctors entering the work force.
Society needs to revise their perspectives of the medical profession. Those intent on a career in medicine and surgery must be made cognisant of the damning changes currently at play and not be misled by false societal perceptions of this once noble vocation.
It is no longer the safe haven it used to be where graduates were virtually guaranteed a good livelihood post-graduation. The private sector is not willing to employ a doctor without a full medical licence, while other countries have laid out strict entrance and linguistic examinations for foreign doctors.
Thus, neither the private sector nor working abroad are viable options for junior doctors – public service is the only option. We are beholden to the mercy of the Public Services Department (PSD) and the health ministry.
In the final analysis, medical graduates are worst off compared with other graduates. Junior doctors are trapped in a catch-22 predicament not entirely of their making. They bear the brunt of the policies of the PSD and healthcare systems (MOH).
Dr Muhammad Firdaus Syukri B Ahmad Zubaidi is spokesman for Malaysian Pre-Houseman Joint (MPHJ).
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