How many medical schools does Malaysia need?
The Government needs to take a bigger role in controlling the number of medical schools recognised both in and out of Malaysia, in order to ensure quality healthcare for all Malaysians.
The problems attached to the over-supply of House Officers is extensively discussed elsewhere, so I won’t repeat the concerns.
It’s also a term weighted by historical baggage. Historically, central planning has been proven to fail in both philosophical and economic terms.
Three, all developed countries (even the flag-bearer of liberal capitalism, the United States) exert some control over their health workforce needs.
The holy grail of 1:400 doctor-to-population ratio is one reason for this abundance, but there are others.
As if local schools weren’t abundant enough, Malaysia recognises another 346 foreign schools in the Medical Act’s
Finally, if 378 schools (32 local + 346 foreign) are not enough, anyone graduating from any medical school not in that list can sit for an Examination for Provisional Registration.
Measures to reduce numbers must accompany measures to enhance the selection of students and to improve the quality of schools; these are covered in other articles that should be read together with this one.
The moratorium on new schools expires April 2021 and must be extended indefinitely.
We should abandon the idea of an arbitrarily-decided new cap. Instead, the Government can enforce existing quality standards (e.g. lecturer/student ratios), and the laggards will shut down by themselves.
We have two options that can be implemented singly or jointly.
Option two is to remove the Second Schedule entirely and introduce a Common Licensing Exam similar to the entrance exams in the US and UK, and also similar to Malaysia’s Certificate of Legal Practice for lawyers.
However, even if MOH knows that we only need 5,000 new doctors per year (for example), it’s impossible to control the intake that took place five years ago. Having the Common Licensing Exam will help winnow out incompetent young doctors though.
This makes the Common Licensing Exam even more crucial. If the Government sends a strong signal that the health and safety of 32 million Malaysians is more important than a few hundred disgruntled young doctors, then society’s fascination with doctors should subside.
It’s a difficult balance to achieve, but the paramount duty is clear: the health and safety of 32 million Malaysians must take precedence over several hundred extra doctors who could be unqualified and unsafe.Read more: The Star
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