THE Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) has given the Malacca Manipal Medical College a year to fulfil several requirements in order for it to continue enjoying the status of a college issuing recognised medical degrees in Malaysia.
This is not something new. Under the Medical Act 1971, the 24-member MMC is empowered to register doctors and help maintain and improve the standard of professionalism and competency among doctors in the country.
Institutions listed under Schedule 2 of the Act offer medical degrees recognised by the Government and there are some 300 such institutions locally and abroad.
Conflicting reports on the listing status and final-year students of the Manipal college recently have raised some eyebrows, even among the ordinary people, as healthcare issues, particularly the competency of doctors, have always been a public concern.
Yesterday, an English daily quoted Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng as saying the Cabinet had on Wednesday given the college three years to overcome weaknesses in its programmes and strictly comply with the recommendations of the council.
Another English daily quoted Chua as saying that its 74 final-year medical students would not be required to sit for an “exit examination” (to allow them to practise) after they graduate, as decided by the MMC.
To qualify for renewal of listing, an institution must meet certain criteria set by a joint committee (represented by MMC, National Accreditation Board and Public Services Department) with the agreement of the MMC.
The listing can be for anything up to five years. Technically, those who fail to meet the MMC criteria will face delisting.
In this, the college, which is listed in the Schedule 2 for one year starting June, is not alone. Last year, at least one public university was given only one year of listing.
“Within that period, the college concerned must meet the conditions,” said an MMC official.
A senior medical specialist said one main reason for imposing conditions for renewal of listing was to ensure the institutions continued to improve their standards in line with the developments in medicine worldwide.
Bodies similar to MMC also exist in other countries and they keep in touch with one another to enhance the skills of their doctors.
As far as the Malacca Manipal Medical College is concerned, the joint committee found “five aspects” which needed rectification and gave it a year to do so.
Subsequently, the MMC, on the recommendation of the joint committee, agreed that the first batch of students be monitored closely during their housemanship.
On top of that, the MMC also stated that students who are currently in the college must sit for an “exit examination” set by the college with the participation of external examiners to assess its standards, according to sources.
Getting their listing renewed and the duration in Schedule 2 should be seen as a challenge for the institutions and the MMC should perhaps consider publicising the list of the colleges.
The council should also clear the air once and for all over the Manipal case, otherwise its professional integrity and jurisdiction could come into doubt.
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