I REFER to the letter titled “Time to do away with outdated ruling for our doctors” (The Star, May 16).
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) disagrees with the views of this UK-trained doctor with regard to housemanship training in Malaysia.
The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) needs to be commended for having strived to improve the standards of training provided for doctors over the years.
The present training schedule ensures that doctors receive all round training and are well-grounded in all fields.
This training regime should empower trainee doctors to handle all medical problems. It provides them with hands-on skill and experience that are needed before they are fully registered with the MMC.
Over the two-year housemanship, doctors are provided mandatory training in the areas of obstetrics and gynaecology, surgery, medicine, paediatrics, orthopaedics and an optional posting .
In the UK and Ireland, the housemanship is only for a year and that too only in two disciplines; medicine and surgery.
This UK-trained doctor is assuming that academic training is sufficient to handle medical conditions in all other fields.
The MMA supports the MMC’s insistence that doctors be provided training in all the major disciplines.
The MMC is only making it compulsory for overseas trained doctors to undergo training in obstetrics and paediatrics; and that too, only if the doctor has not done this posting overseas.
This we feel is a fair imposition and certainly meets the requirements and expectations of all Malaysians.
These are important postings and medical conditions in both these disciplines are certainly different from those in developed nations like the UK. Maternal mortality is a disaster when it happens and so too with a child. Litigation is highest in obstetrics.
The Malaysian health conditions and diseases are very different from what you learn academically even in renowned foreign medical universities. To claim academic knowledge is sufficient, is not proposition that MMA feels is justified.
As regard compulsory service, the MMA feels it is a service that doctors need to provide to the nation. It also ensures that doctors are given all required training before they are allowed to function autonomously. This is after all medicine, a field which deals with precious lives.
We now have too many doctors. They also work on a shorter flexi-shift system. Training may not be adequate. Not undergoing two major postings will certainly “handicap” them further and will not ensure that the doctor is equipped with experience to provide the best medical care.
The Health Ministry is toying with the idea to do away with the two years of compulsory service mainly due to the inability to provide jobs for the excessive large number of doctors being produced.
The MMA strongly objects to this as it will be a recipe for disaster in the health sector. The compulsory service must be retained to ensure that doctors are “safe”.
Let us stick to the time tested “rulings” of the MMC which thus far has ensured quality care is being provided for the nation. There are no short cuts in medicine.
DATUK DR N.K.S. THARMASEELAN
Malaysian Medical Association