Friday, December 3, 2010

The Star: Delist poor quality med schools.... By LOH FOON FONG

Delist poor quality med schools


Thursday December 2, 2010

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association wants the Government to stop issuing licences to new medical schools and de-recognise existing ones which are of poor quality.

Its president Dr David Quek said stringent quality mechanisms should also be imposed on existing schools to ensure students are not short-changed.

“If medical schools do not have sufficient teachers or cannot offer adequate patient contact time, their student numbers should be reduced,” he said in an e-mail interview.

Recently, The Star reported that a high number of medical students graduating each year had crowded limited resources resulting in many housemen not having enough patients for adequate training with supervisors being overworked.

Sources also voiced concern that many graduates from lesser-known medical schools did not have adequate core knowledge to treat patients.

Dr Quek urged the Health Ministry to act quickly by sending “weak” new graduates for re-training.

In his blog on MMA News December 2010, he said there were 31,000 doctors and housemen and the Ministry wanted to reduce the doctor-population ratio by achieving 85,000 doctors for a projected 35 million population by 2020.

“This goal of trying to achieve so many doctors in so short a time is happening way too fast and too soon,” he said, adding that the issue was not about doctors wanting to protect their ‘turf’, rather their concern over patient safety.

While there were complaints of a glut in some hospitals, in rural hospitals in Sabah, housemen were complaining of being overworked.

A houseman, who declined to be named, said rural hospitals suffered from a severe lack of doctors and housemen had to work round the clock to care for patients.

“We have to be ‘on-call’ continuously for a whole week and go without sleep on some nights,” he said in an e-mail.

A mother of a houseman based at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Cheras also complained that her daughter’s feet had swelled after having to stand for long hours every day.

Acknowledging that there was a severe shortage of doctors in certain hospitals, Dr Quek said the Health Ministry should work out a better distribution mechanism to overcome the problem.

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