Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 27, 2007

Chua suggests exam for all foreign medical graduates

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:21 am

NST: MALACCA: It would be more cost effective to set a competency examination for foreign medical graduates rather than recognising individual medical schools overseas.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said his ministry was discussing the possibility of setting such an exam with the Malaysian Medical Council.
“In the long term, it is simply not cost effective for the Health Ministry to grant recognition to one foreign medical school after another. So this system may be a better way to judge the standard of a medical graduate,” said Dr Chua.
Currently, 344 medical schools worldwide are recognised, and the ministry “cannot go on providing recognition to more universities in order to increase the number of doctors in the country”.
“When a university is recognised by the ministry, its standards need to be evaluated from time to time. We simply can’t afford to travel to each foreign university every so often,” he said.
With a competency exam, medical graduates can be accepted into the profession regardless of which university they graduate from.
“It doesn’t matter whether your medical school is recognised or not. As long as you are good, have a medical degree and can pass the qualifying exam, you can practise here,” said the health minister.
Chua was commenting on the suggestion that Malaysia recognise more Taiwanese medical schools, made by Taiwan University Graduates Alumni Confederation president Law Yang Ket.
In his speech at the opening of the confederation’s annual general meeting here yesterday, Law said the government only recognised eight of the more than 20 medical schools in Taiwan, and the shortage of doctors could be overcome if more medical schools were recognised.
Dr Chua also said there could be no compromise on quality even though there was a shortage of doctors.
“You are dealing with people’s lives when you are a doctor.”
The standard of medical students had dropped after a recent attempt to increase the number of doctors because “they just don’t have the right attitude and commitment”, he added.
He said the ministry organised a five-day programme in several hospitals last year to show aspiring doctors with excellent SPM and STPM results what being in the medical profession involved.
“Ten per cent changed their minds about being a doctor after attending the programme. This shows that students don’t get enough guidance and counselling before deciding on a career path.
“Just because they have achieved 12 or 13 As in their exams, they decide to become a doctor without knowing what it takes to become one,” he said, adding that the programme would be lengthened to 10 days this year.
“One needs commitment, discipline and passion to be a doctor.”

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