Monday, June 14, 2010

Medical profession cantering towards serious trouble

Humayun KabirJun 12, 103:50pm

Twenty-four medical colleges for a population of 27 million could be a major contributing factor for the projected oversupply of doctors in the next five years, the DAP has suggested.

The party's national vice-chairperson M Kula Segaran pointed out that Malaysia has an oversupply of medical colleges when compared to Britain's population ratio of 61 million to 26 medical colleges and Canada's 34 million to 17 medical colleges.The DAP Ipoh Barat MP sounded the warning that the profession may go to the dogs if the government does not take serious measures to address the problem highlighted by MCA president Chua Soi Lek.

"I call upon the health minister to treat this matter as urgent and inform the public as to what are the steps it will take to prevent our future doctors from becoming jobless," said Kula (left).Recently, Chua, himself a doctor and former health minister, had claimed that the current doctor population of 30,000 would rise to 55,000 or 60,000 in about five years time when Malaysia starts to churn out 4,500 doctors annually from next year.

Kula said that the government should also check the existing medical colleges' teaching quality as there is suspicion that some do not meet the high criteria for such degrees set by the government.Quantity over quality?"Is quantity overriding quality of medical degrees in the mad rush to fill the vacuum of doctor shortages in the country?" he asked.He said inevitable consequence of such a policy will be oversupply forcing doctors and other professionals to hunt for jobs outside the field of their training.

"Then what will be the value of a medical or other degrees?" the DAP state deputy leader asked.He also brought up another possible side-effect: interns facing difficulty in getting compulsory training.Even if they can be placed in the public hospitals, the pressing question will be whether these interns will receive adequate and high quality training, in the face of the high housemen to patient ratio.

On this potentially serious problem, there has been no response thus far from Health Minister Liong Tiong Lai to his party chief's claim, Kula said."I cannot imagine parents' heartaches in finding that their children graduate to become jobless after spending over a million ringgit in educating them in either Ireland or England, " he said.

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