World

M'sia 'losing doctors' to S'pore

About 60 medical graduates from Malaysian universities took up offers in S'pore last year, says Malaysian doctor

Malaysia is losing some of its top medical graduates to Singapore.

And these students are identified even before they graduate and are given provisional offers, reported The Star.

Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (Klang) physician, Dr Tan Guo Jeng, said a six- to eight-month wait for housemanship was too long and students who did not want to wait had taken up offers from Singapore.

This comes as Malaysia struggles to accommodate thousands of its medical gra­duates for housemanship.

"According to my contacts, Singapore has already given conditional offers to some 10 to 20 of our Universiti Malaya (UM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) medical students.

"And they have not even sat for their final exams," he said during a dialogue with the Health Ministry and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) recently.

The dialogue was organised by the medical student movement, Malaysian Medics International (MMI).

Dr Tan said last year alone, Malaysia lost 50 to 60 of its UM and UKM graduates to Singapore.

CONTACTED DIRECTLY

Professor Azad Hassan, deputy dean of UM's Faculty of Medicine, admitted that it was losing its top medical graduates to Singapore.

"I don't know how the Singaporeans know about our top students and contact them directly. For the past two or three years, we get 80 to 100 housemen a year.

"With the Health Ministry's assistance, we're now able to allow the top 20 or 30 to work in UMMC (University Malaya Medical Centre) and continue with their master's programme. Hopefully with that, we can keep them locally," he said.

MMI chairman S.S. Vikkinesh­waran ­said the students were identified by their seniors working in Singapore hospitals who would recommend them.

Also, many doctors have to wait for about 15 years before they can do their master's and become specialists.

The Health Ministry's deputy director-general, Dr S. Jeyaindran, said: "In comparison, Singapore's training programme is a continuous process and enables a doctor to sub-specialise at a faster rate."

To stem the flow of medical graduates and doctors to Singapore, Dr Jeyaindran said the ministry was trying to shorten the gap for doctors here.

He said the ministry was looking at alternative pathways for specialist training.

"While the universities increase the slots available for master's programmes, they must also look at other pathways for doctors to become specialists, whether through fellowship or membership of the Royal Colleges in the UK," he said.

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