Private hospitals training their own specialists could help hundreds of medical officers, says APHM

Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh. - Filepic/The Star

PETALING JAYA: A move to let private hospitals train their own specialists could benefit hundreds of medical officers who are still waiting for contracts or permanent jobs, says the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM).

Its president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said in a statement on Friday (Dec 3) that the association had a discussion with the Health Ministry in a recent joint workshop on the proposal of private hospitals training their own specialists.

“Current opportunities for medical officers to be trained as specialists and then given a post in the government sector are limited,” he said.

The current practice of medicine and surgery in private hospitals is largely dependent on competent specialists who are trained with experience in the public healthcare system, he added.

“Many migrate to the private sector for multiple reasons and one of the main pull factors is the remuneration and the freedom to practice using high technology.

“The concerns of the government are brain drain but the greater worry now is the lack of opportunities for younger doctors to be trained as specialists and later serve in public and private hospitals.

“It has been known that private healthcare also contributes greatly to a segment of patients in this country and increases tax income and job opportunities to the non-specialists such as private nurses, allied health and administrators,” he said.

In view of this, he added, private hospitals would like an assurance that slots in local public medical universities could be attained on a yearly basis in multiple disciplines, to expedite the training of candidates funded by private hospitals.

Dr Kuljit said currently there is a private specialisation programme conducted by Kumpulan Perubatan Johor (KPJ) Healthcare University College (KPJUC).

He hoped that this programme could be further accredited to accommodate a larger number of doctors in multiple specialisations.

Besides KPJUC, he said other private hospitals may embark on their own programmes but the process could be tedious and complicated.

“Private hospitals could also have an international training programme with international colleges for membership and fellowship as an option.

"(This is in) the hope of getting (on) the National Specialist Register, based on experience and exposure gained in private hospitals.

“Such candidates sponsored by private hospitals will have long-term bonds to serve their patients,” he said.

On July 26, the #HartalDoktorKontrak movement that consists of a group of contract doctors in the public service held a nationwide strike to urge the government to offer contract doctors better terms as well as permanent positions.

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