Health, Higher Education ministries to jointly address issues with parallel pathway programme

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry and Higher Education Ministry will submit a joint memorandum to the Cabinet soon as part of efforts to address issues related to the parallel pathway programme (PPP).

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the joint memorandum was agreed after chairing a meeting with Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir on Thursday (April 18) on proposed amendments to the Medical Act 1971.

Dr Dzulkefly, in a post on X, dubbed the meeting as "historic" and added that an understanding was achieved between the ministries.

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"God willing, such 'disorder' will be resolved with the joint memorandum to the Cabinet," he said.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said the meeting was to further examine the PPP and find solutions to ensure knowledge gained by housemen adheres to the highest standards.

"Based on the discussion, a memorandum will also be presented to the Cabinet for further approval, aligning with the Health Ministry's target to provide optimal healthcare services to the public," it said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Also present at the meeting were Higher Education secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang and Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, who is also Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) president.

On April 2, Dr Dzulkefly said the Health Ministry would propose to the Cabinet to expedite proposed amendments to amend the Act at the next Parliament meeting in June.

Pending the Cabinet's decision, Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry would ensure that those who have successfully completed their training under the PPP will be eligible for registration as specialists.

ALSO READ: Medical Act amendments to address gap between parallel pathway, local master's programmes

The Act requires a registered medical practitioner to be registered with the MMC, the sole authority that determines if a doctor is qualified to be a specialist.

The Star recently reported that MMC refused to recognise the Fellowships of four Malaysian heart and lung trainee surgeons from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) although they passed their examinations under the PPP.

There are currently 14 heart and lung surgeons in public service left and several are retiring in a few years, while there are over 1,500 heart and lung disease patients urgently needing surgery.

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