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Too Many Trainee Doctors; Too Little Clinical Exposure

Published by Afterschool.my on Oct 08, 2012, 05:49 am

  • The new flexi-hour shift system was supposed to improve the quality of life of medical house officers (HOs) yet it appeared to have its trade-offs.
  • Seventy-five percent of the 908 HOs surveyed felt that they were not getting adequate clinical exposure and were unable to complete enough procedures as required for their training. This came out from the survey results conducted by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).
  • Sixty percent felt there was no continuity of care for patients, with 52% saying the previous on-call system was better than the existing system.
  • The former on-call system would take up 24 to 40 hours of a trainee doctor’s time whereas the flexi-hour shift would only require 12 to 15 hours with adequate days off.
  • According to Dr Pagalavan Letchumanan, a renowned consultant physician and rheumatologist, it is not whether the on-call or the shift system is better. “It is about overflow of doctors. We are producing just too many doctors than what the system can cope.”
  • He said that the shift system reduces the number of HOs working at any one time and without it, there will be close to 50 housemen in each department which will also reduce patient exposure time and learning.
  • “The root problem is too many medical schools with too many unqualified graduates,” he emphasised.
  • MMA President, Dr S.R. Manalan said that those interested to learn the skills under the new shift system will have to go the extra distance to attend procedures.
  • “Basically, training is the time for HOs to consolidate and build on both their practical and theoretical knowledge, and sometimes, they need to take the initiative to acquire knowledge for themselves if they are serious about a career in medicine.”
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