Docs in govt hospitals stretched by private students

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.

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