Saturday, June 03, 2006

Health D-G wants review of medical courses

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: In the past 20 years, diseases have become more complex and healthcare technology has progressed by leaps and bounds.
Yet, the curriculum for some post-graduate medical courses and sub-speciality programmes have not been updated.
Declaring the programmes outdated, director-general of Health Datuk Dr Ismail Merican said there was a need to review the syllabi for programmes more than 20 years old.
He said a review would be carried out soon to do away with what was no longer relevant and to incorporate the latest technologies and treatment methods.
"Doctors need to keep abreast with the latest medical developments as we want them to be highly skilled professionals," he told the New Straits Times.
"The ministry will discuss with the universities the review and the need to include clinical skills into both postgraduate and sub-speciality courses."
The review is part of the Government’s vision under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to develop skilled human capital.
He said the ministry’s mission was to ensure that all healthcare staff were involved in continued professional development and medical education.
On the four-year Public Health Programme, Dr Ismail said the ministry planned to shorten it to one or two years so that the subsequent couple of years could be utilised for sub-specialisation.
This is to ensure that public health specialists will get the same recognition as their clinical counterparts.
Similarly, Dr Ismail wants all specialists in the country to be highly knowledgeable and skilled in their respective fields, especially now that local universities are offering most of their courses in affiliation with other renowned medical universities abroad.
"Doctors can do their postgraduate studies abroad, especially in areas where the country is facing a shortage of specialists, such as in oncology and infectious diseases," Dr Ismail said.
However, they should pursue their studies at recognised and accredited medical colleges, he added.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur Hospital consultant pulmonary and critical care physician Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai said as healthcare became more globalised, it would be beneficial for the country to have undergraduate and post-graduate programmes which were of a high standard and recognised internationally. Dr Jeyaindran, who is also the dean of the Malaysian Royal Col lege of Physicians of Ireland examination centre, said locally-trained doctors should also possess foreign post-graduate degrees.
This would enable foreign patients and medical personnel to know the standards of care provided and would support the country’s efforts to establish itself as a centre for medical health tourism, he said.
"We aim for ISO benchmarking for our hospitals but what is the point if we do not do the same with the doctors and other healthcare staff?"
Dr Jeyaindran said post-graduate medical courses should have link-ups with other well-established programmes.
With training opportunities becoming scarce in Britain, he said doctors should do their post-graduate training locally.
"I think it will be best if our doctors complete their post-graduate training in Malaysia and then go to other countries to do the sub-specialisation.

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