Posted on 12 October 2011 - 08:53pm Last updated on 12 October 2011 - 10:00pm
I REFER to “Overworked housemen” (Letters, Oct 5) and other grouses that increasingly make their way into our media by Generation Y housemen. As a specialist in a government hospital in Selangor, I feel that instead of silence that may be misconstrued as guilt, there is a need to reply.
We are now at a crossroads in our health system. The high standards that were maintained through the years have fallen by the wayside. This is especially evident from the constant complaints of the younger generation, although the system and the government are bending over backwards to accommodate them. The reasons:
-- An overload of new housemen/doctors – 500 a year in 1998 and 7,500 in 2011, with the number estimated to rise to 10,000 in coming years.
-- Too many medical schools in the country – 42 at the last count, with some having very low standards. Indonesia with a population of about 300 million has half the number. How did these colleges come to be recognised?
-- Too many medical schools recognised overseas, with the standards, especially of Russian ones, being extremely low.
-- So we are now inundated with housemen to train, wherein 60% are of very low standard – meaning not even fit to pass the finals in a medical school exam, let alone to treat patients.
-- We, the specialists, are forced to retrain and even reteach these incompetents.
-- There are only so many times you can give advice to a person who doesn’t listen – sometimes when a patient’s life is at stake, voices have to be raised! Don’t you agree?
-- Increasingly, our politicians get involved when some VIP’s son or daughter who can’t cope, just wants to float through. Many specialists have been given letters of warning, when all they were doing was enforcing appropriate disciplinary action in respect of housemen who had gone AWOL.
-- The number of litigation cases against the Health Ministry due to housemen is at an all-time high.
-- The shift system was opposed by all senior faculty in the ministry, vis a vis all senior specialists, but it was forced on us. Who is going to monitor all these housemen under the shift system – the specialists?
-- When these housemen become medical officers and specialists, are they also going to go on shift?
-- We have better things to do than mollycoddle a tsunami of sub-standard doctors. If we are not careful, there will be a great exodus of specialists from the public health system in the next few years.
All you see in government hospital nowadays are the poor and the illegals – everyone else has an insurance card! So to the powers that be, wake up and smell the coffee.