Monday, June 14, 2010

The Coming Oversupply of Doctors in Malaysia

I have expressed concern before that Malaysia is producing too many doctors in Too many doctors in Malaysia, Standards of House Officers in Malaysia and The coming surplus of doctors in Malaysia. I am glad that this concern is now been publicly acknowledged by the Malaysia Medical Association and Health Minister. However it may be too late. The 24 medical schools are already churning out graduates while there are many other students in overseas medical schools who will be graduating and coming home soon. The impending oversupply of doctors in Malaysia is going to be a reality soon. Yet I see parents everywhere in Malaysia urging their children to study medicine. Malaysiakini has an relevant article by Susan Loone.

MMA: What sort of doctors are we producing?
Susan Loone
Malaysiakini; Jun 14, 2010
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) expressed concern that the hundreds of house officers (or housemen) who throng major urban hospitals share the same patients and duties.

“What is worse, they have lesser personal time with their trainers, registrars, clinical specialists and consultants,” said MMA president Dr David Quek, when contacted yesterday.

“What sort of doctors would we be producing? This is particularly worrisome, and it would be extremely difficult to train them all well when the glut seems to overflow the system.”
dap education roundtable  meeting 111006 m kulasegaran
Dr Quek was responding to DAP national vice-chairperson M Kula Segaran (left), who had noted on Saturday that 24 medical colleges for a population of 27 million could be a major contributing factor for the projected oversupply of doctors in the next five years.

The Malaysian Medical Council's latest annual report states that the number of doctors (including 3,651 house officers) has hit 27,709.
According to the report, which the MMA cited, Malaysia is expected to produce 3,500- 5,000 medical graduates annually.

Based on an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent, the country may have 45,000-50,000 doctors for a population of about 32 million to 35 million people.

If the over-supply continues, there could be a staggering 75,000-80,000 doctors by 2020.

Worry over 'diploma mills'
NONEDr Quek (right) said Malaysia should not emulate countries such as the Philippines, which are exporting trained doctors as re-trained allied health paramedics, as this is a huge waste of money and resources.

He drew a comparison with the legal profession which had around 10,000 registered lawyers about 10 years ago; this year the figure is a mere 14,000.

“Why are we mass-producing doctors with no end in sight, and undermining our hitherto much-vaunted profession?” he queried.

“Our diploma mills unfortunately might then begin to shortchange our uninformed citizens and parents, who relentlessly continue to push their children to enter such a profession, which cannot guarantee their employability at such enormous costs and borrowing.”

Dr Quek, however, noted that Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai is mulling the possibility of imposing a moratorium on private medical colleges following MMA's concerns about a possible glut in poorly trained doctors within the next decade.

Two weeks ago, at the MMA's 50th annual general meeting, Liow said a moratorium is necessary to allow the government to produce quality doctors.

He said there are currently 31,273 registered doctors nationwide with the government focusing on achieving a ratio of 1:600 by 2015.

At the rate we are going, newly graduated doctors may be selling insurance or be pharmaceutic sales representatives soon. Good luck to them all!

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Blogger Paul Long said...

Main issue for me is the quality not the quantity ...
Doctors deal in life and death issues.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Paul,

Quality and quantity is related in a vicious cycle.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Doc, what about dentists? would they shared the same fate as the doctors too?


9:31 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Vicky,

I am sorry I do not know about the number of dentists graduating per year.

Perhaps someone can help?

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blame those ignorant parents who want their children to be doctors so much just to feel proud without knowing what is happening now. Heck, I know a friend's aunt whose all 4 children are doctorss!! Crazy.

*excuse my language* Seriously, there are lots of noble jobs other than a medical officer, people.

10:04 PM  

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