Friday, April 26, 2024

What About The Plight Of Doctors From Parallel Pathways?

What About The Plight Of Doctors From Parallel Pathways?

The MMC is embroiled in a tussle with the parallel pathway specialists and the medical genetics graduates over recognising their qualifications for the purpose of listing them in the National Specialists Register (NSR). Four cardiothoracic surgeons with qualifications from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and six Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) graduates have filed legal action against the MMC over the dispute. The minister said recognition of all specialist programmes is being looked into.

“I put my foot down at the meeting and told them we cannot let this problem fester,” Zambry, who co-chaired the special meeting with health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad on Thursday, told FMT. “Otherwise, it’s the sick Malaysians waiting for long periods for treatment who will continue to suffer. The current situation cannot continue unabated, with the nation’s healthcare under severe stress due to the lack of specialists.”

For the past month, this news has been in the headlines of every local paper. But I wonder why there was nary a murmur of solving the issue of doctors from unrecognised universities. Aren’t they also needed for the health sector to lessen the workload of doctors in mainly the government sector especially in Sabah and Sarawak? Are only specialists important for the health sector and when it involves them the Madani government suddenly springs into action? But lower level doctors are expandable and are not needed in Malaysia?

Haven’t these doctors also come from parallel pathway programs for their undergraduate studies? If all specialist programs should be recognised, why can’t all MBBS and MD programs also be recognised? Why can’t Article 12 which was brought in 1992 be removed by government legislations since the Madani government now has more than 2/3rds majority in parliament? Why the delay in revamping the medical sector?

And why can’t those who have completed the Australian AMC exams, the United States USMLE, the UK’s PLAB and Canadian Licensing exams also be accepted here in Malaysia? Aren’t these also parallel pathway exams which are world recognised? Everyday there is a cry of brain drain but when doctors who clear these exams are not accepted here, why should they come back to Malaysia?

Those with GMC recognition are allowed to come back and immediately work for just 1 year of housemanship instead of 2. How come this parallel pathway is allowed and even given preference but others are not?

This is the 10th letter which Finance Twitter has published from me. How many letters does it take to change the system? The courts failed in changing the system when 30 doctors took a case in 2004. But that was 20 years ago when the independence of courts was questioned. If a similar case comes up now, the outcome might be different.

Only the late Datuk Seri Chua Jui Meng in 2002 ordered the MMC to take these doctors in to work when Mahathir was out of the country. But when Mahathir returned, the tyrant once again put a stop to it as told by the late Datuk Seri Samy Vello when he met these doctors in 2003. Since then, there has always been this tussle between the undemocratic MMC where 2/3rds of their members are appointed; and the health ministers on this issue with the health ministers always falling in line with the wishes of the MMC.

It’s hightime the ministers remove MMC from the equation. The ministers are the ones who have the power to bring forth change. MMC is an archaic institution as claimed by none other than Datuk Chua Soi Lek in 2006 who was the Health Minister then. MMC’s role should only be in adding doctors to the medical registrar once they have finished the required housemanship and medical officer years. Not in recognition of universities which MMC does not have the manpower or capability to carry out as they replied in their sworn affidavit to the case filed by the 30 doctors.

Isn’t the WHO list of recognised universities of every country enough for doctors to come back and undergo housemanship? In the past an MMC official has had to resign as there was a scandal that the team that went to do recognition of a Russian university was just wined and dined to get the recognition process done.

If the MMC wants us to sit for an exam, then once a candidate passes it, they should be taken in as a medical officer and not just be made to go and join housemanship where they are basically trainee doctors. Only Malaysia practices this. In other countries, you immediately join as a medical officer. This is further proof that this qualifying exams are redundant.

If Russian universities which have only 3 years of active medical subjects taught in their medical programs accepted, why can’t doctors from other countries who do an active 6 years course also be accepted? The first 3 years of a Russian medical degree are a basic science program with animal husbandry and plant physiology. A physiotherapist can transfer to complete the final 3 years and come back and practice in Malaysia as MMC recognised the Russian universities.

Doctors trained privately in Indonesia were allowed credit transfers to government universities through agents. Those who had the cash went for it. They just had to complete the final 2 clinical years at these Indonesian government universities which were rocognised here. How come their classmates who were left behind didn’t have their theory years accepted for recognition and just asked to sit for a clinical exam when they returned? Why make them take the whole exam and insist they must pass both sections in one go? No other professional exam is conducted as such!

Recognition is a money making process for the universities involved. If Ramiah Medical College in India could see a jump of 60K to 130K in their capitation fees once their medical degree was recognised in 1990, please don’t say that money has no factor in the recognition process. Recognition is only done when there are MARA and JPA students in the overseas universities. So when is Madani going to get rid of this corrupt system which is based on race also? Is this the refomasi Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar claims to do?

The foreign classmates of unrecognised doctors can come and do specialist courses at our government universities and return to their countries as specialists. But here we refuse the Malaysians to even start as houseman as their same basic degree is unrecognised here. Please tell me there was no biasness involved.

Foreign doctors can practice here especially as specialists as we lack specialists, but we can’t allow our own Malaysians to put a foot in the door and work themselves up as specialists all because they are mainly Non-Malays whose parents sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears to see them graduate as doctors from parallel pathways when the country didn’t even have private medical studies available in the 90’s. Take them in today and they can still serve for the next 30 or more years of their active lives if they live to their 80s.

We don’t need MMC’s qualification exams. Different role numbers, no marks from course work, negative marking and answering in English while local candidates answer in BM was clearly meant to set them up for failure. Instead of saying that the passing rate is now about 40%, MMC should be questioned as to why it was only about 10% in the past. All this was the social engineering MMC partook in with the racist governments which ruled then.

So why is this Madani government still dragging their feet where MMC is concerned? It it because they have 5 years that they think they can push it under the carpet and then use it as another election promise to gullible voters to come into power again? It’s no use handing money all over the place like they are doing for pensioners hoping they will be voted back into power and forgetting those intellectuals who can’t even work due to legislative constraints. FDI will also not flow in where the educated sector has to leave to find employment to avoid being oppressed.

I’ve written about this in length in the other articles about unrecognised doctors Finance Twitter has published in the past few years. Please do take time to read them as each article has different points. Instead of shouting for the plight of people in other countries, it’s high time the Madani government pays attention to the needs of all Malaysians.

Disillusioned Malaysian Doctor

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