Health Ministry must get priorities right

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 24 Mar 2016

I REFER to the letter “Give more doctors chance to be specialists” (The Star, March 22). I share the views expressed by the writer from Kuala Krai, Kelantan.

The Health Ministry is fully aware that for a long time now, there has been an acute shortage of medical specialists, especially surgeons.

Aspiring surgeons, unlike in the past, are no longer allowed to obtain their surgical qualifications through the Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) and Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) offered by the various royal colleges in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

For those who aspire to become paediatricians, general medical specialists, and orthopaedic specialists, among others, there is still the royal college alternative. But there’s none for those who aspire to be surgeons.

The door has been shut for some time now and all aspiring surgeons have no choice but

to do the local master’s programme offered by our public universities.

Thus, if you are aspiring to be a surgeon in any discipline, the speculation that the Health Ministry will reduce the number of slots for the 2016 master’s programme will definitely be a real and frustrating setback.

Having endured five to six

years in medical school and completed the two-year compulsory housemanship plus having served the Government for more than five years, this would come as a rude shock.

I have wondered many times if we really care for the future and our poor rakyat at large.

Whatever happened to the impressive “People First” slogan which the Prime Minister often stressed upon? Are some little napoleons trying to scuttle the Prime Minister’s noble and honest objectives?

I urge the Chief Secretary to the Government to intervene and instruct the Health Ministry to cease trimming budgets for critical services and the training of medical specialists, especially surgeons.

We cannot afford to reduce the number of places for this very critical area as it effects the poor rakyat who have no other option but to seek treatment at government hospitals.



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Opinion , Letters , Health , specialists


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