Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Docs: Local med students must sit for licensing exam, too

Star: PETALING JAYA: Senior doctors have called for local medical graduates to also sit for the proposed medical licensing examination which will be imposed on all foreign medical graduates.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr David Quek said many supervising clinicians have expressed concern about the commitment and quality of some recent graduates from local medical schools.
“There are concerns that some private schools are influenced by profit and adequate teaching facilities and teachers were not the most important criteria,” he said.
Foundation courses were also shortened to three to seven months to attract weaker students, said Dr Quek, adding that a moratorium should be imposed not only on the number of medical schools but also the student intake.
Last Thursday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told the Dewan Rakyat that the Medical Act 1971 would be amended to allow students to pursue medical studies at any institution of their choice overseas but they would have to sit for the licensing examination when they return home.
Currently, under the Act, only students in unrecognised foreign medical schools are subject to the Malaysian Medical Council’s (MMC) qualifying examination.
A senior doctor, who declined to be named, said local universities should not be exempted from the examination.
“The quality of medical services is in danger of deteriorating, and we need a drastic solution,” the doctor said.
Meanwhile, MMC member Datuk Dr Abdul Hamid Abdul Kadir said it was not necessary for local students to sit for the licensing examination as they were evaluated periodically.
“However, students studying locally with tie-ups to foreign schools should be subject to the exam,” he said.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Act amendment for medic students to pick varsity of choice

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian students will be able to pursue medical studies at any institution of their choice anywhere in the world once the Medical Act 1971 is amended, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said one of the amendments would be the nullification of the Second Schedule which lists all the 375 recognised medical institutions.
Under this approach, the students would be able to choose the institutions of their choice, provided they obtain the "No Objection" certificate before hand from the Ministry of Higher Education, he said.
"After graduation, the students will have to sit for the Licensing Examination to determine their ability to function as quality and competent doctors," he said when replying to a question from Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong).
Liow said that students who passed the examination would be eligible to register with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) to serve as doctors in the country.
"It cannot be denied that it is difficult to conduct regular monitoring of the quality of medical studies by institutions abroad in view of the geographical and logistical factors and prohibitive cost involved in sending an evaluation panel overseas," he said.
Liow said the moratorium on new medical programmes offered at local institutions of higher learning would come into force once it had been approved by parliament.
The moratorium, being worked out by the Ministry of Higher Education with input from relevant government agencies, was necessary to prevent the creation of a surplus of medical graduates, he said.
Liow also said that the number of medical graduands registered with the MMC had grown from 2,527 in 2008 to 3,150 in 2009 and to 3,257 last year.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Medical gear to be of top grade

Star: NILAI: Manufacturers of medical devices will be required to register their products with the Health Ministry soon.
This requirement comes following the soon-to-be introduced Medical Devices Act to ensure healthcare providers only use quality equipment to treat patients.
These medical gadgets, including imported ones, will also have to be registered so that they are protected under the country’s patent rights.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Medical Devices Bill would likely be tabled in Parliament during this month’s sitting or at the latest during the June session.
“It is time that such provisions are put in place. Apart from safeguarding patients’ rights, we want to ensure inferior medical products are not dumped here by fly-by-night companies,” he said at the opening of the RM30mil BioMolecular Industries Sdn Bhd nuclear medical research and production facility.
He said the ministry had discussions with stakeholders in the industry, who agreed that such provisions should be introduced for the good of all parties.
Alluding to the fact that Malaysia’s medical device industry was still developing, he said such laws were needed as the Government wanted to set high standards for the healthcare sector.
According to estimates by the Association of Malaysian Medical Industries, the medical devices market in the country grew to RM2.7bil in 2010.
It is expected to hit RM2.9bil this year and RM5bil in 2012.
At the launch, BioMolecular Industries chairman Datuk Seri Tai Hean Leng said with the commissioning of the state-of-the-art facility, which was a joint venture between Belgium’s Ion Beam Applications and Masteel Bhd, treatment for cancer, heart and neurological disorders would become more affordable for Malaysians.