Though the Public Service Commission (PSC) had announced that results of interviews with medical graduates for their housemanship applications will be published on 17 April, it published a different notice on the same day instead, informing that the announcement will be postponed until further notice, according to Opposition Member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching.

“The failure of the PSC to meet the deadline that they have not only set for themselves, but have already announced to the public, as well as last minute requests for re-submission of documents exposes how inefficient and under-prepared the public service commission is,” Teo said.

Teo: Delay in housemanship leads to underperformance

Questioning the delay by PSC, Teo further stressed that young graduates need to earn a salary for daily living as well as to repay their study loans. She added that graduates are unable to plan their schedules or commit to long-term contracts if they are not provided with concrete dates, and further delay in commencement of housemanship means that medical graduates risk losing their practical application of knowledge and skills.

“As the saying goes, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’,” she said.

Teo also pointed out that the setback would mean that there will be no graduates to replace housemen who have been promoted to medical officers, leaving existing house officers to deal with a higher workload in hospitals.

“Many inches of newspaper column have been dedicated to castigate under-performing housemen, but how many of them were victims of long waits caused by the inefficiency of the PSC?” she queried.

Health Deputy D-G: Non-clinical work an option for medical graduates

Houseman training in Malaysia has been a fervently discussed topic of late. While some topics addressed the number of vacancies available and the newly implemented contract positions for housemanship, most were related to the arduous work demands and long working hours of doctors.

According to Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, 30% of housemen in the country are unable to complete their internships within the two-year time frame due to incompetency.

“Admittedly, the problem of housemen is perpetual...because of their incompetency, they have to extend their training period and many other graduates cannot do their training,” he said at the time, adding that the situation has contributed to the congestion of placements for house officers in the country.

However, deputy director-general of Health, Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran has said that medical graduates who do not have interest or aptitude for clinical work can apply their skills in research or academia. Revealing that roughly 15% of medical graduates do not wish to advance into clinical work, he suggested that the Malaysian Medical Council create two registration categories, one respectively for clinicians and for non-clinicians.

At present, registration with the council is only required for doctors pursuing clinical work, while registration for non-clinicians would require a change in the law, Jeyaindran explained.

“Registering with the council will give non-clinicians the recognition for their qualifications and opportunities to pursue other areas within the health sector,” he said.

Establishment of deanery gives doctors opportunities to specialise

Meanwhile, the recent establishment of the deanery at national level will allow doctors the opportunity to upgrade their skills and become specialists in their areas of choice.

“The deanery will ensure qualified doctors are given the chance to advance in their careers,” Jeyaindran said, expressing hopes for the deanery to be at hospital level by the end of the year.

In order to ensure the good quality of doctors practicing in the country, Jeyaindran also proposed a standardised national curriculum and a common licensing examination.

“A national curriculum could standardise the quality of medical education in medical schools in the country while the licensing exam could be an additional qualification for graduates to practice medicine in Malaysia, similar to the Certificate in Legal Practice required by the legal profession,” he said. MIMS

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