PUTRAJAYA: Public hospitals can only absorb about 5,000 housemen each year, but more than 6,500 medical graduates emerge from both local and foreign institutions annually, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
“There is now a waiting list (for housemen positions) of between three to six months and the wait could be longer in time to come. As part of a measure to control the supply of new doctors, we are now in discussions with the Education Ministry to review the minimum qualifications (for entry into medical schools),” said Dr Subramaniam at a press conference here yesterday.
The two-year housemanship is part of a compulsory apprenticeship for medical graduates who, upon successful completion of their training, would be granted a full practising registration certificate by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).
There are now 33 medical schools offering 44 medical programmes locally but the Cabinet has imposed a five-year moratorium on new medical courses effective May 1, 2011.
Another measure which was implemented recently to increase the number of housemen’s placement included housemen being assigned to posts in public health clinics in one of their six rotations. Dr Subramaniam said the ministry was also considering introducing primary care and psychiatry as an alternative apart from the compulsory posting.
“In other countries, there is no problem like ours because the number of doctors (overseas) are under control. Our situation is extraordinary because we have a high number of (medical training) institutions.
“In addition, the employment criteria for house officers set by the Public Service Department needs to be made similar to other professions, including a mandatory credit in Bahasa Malaysia,” the minister said.
Separately, Dr Subramaniam announced the gazetting of seven locations in Johor as smoke-free zones effective June 19.
They include Taman Rekreasi Town Park 2 and Taman Rekreasi Town Park 3 in Taman Seri Austin, Johor Baru; Taman Negara Gunung Ledang, Muar; Taman Negara Endau Rompin and Taman Negara Endau Rompin Tambahan, Segamat; and Taman Negara Pulau Kukup and Taman Negara Tanjong Piai, in Pontian.