Too Many Doctors in Malaysia





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Too Many Doctors in Malaysia?

Alex Tang


Medical Tribune, issue 15-30 April 2007 featured an article by Simren Gill entitled, Doc surplus may cap future enrolment.

The projected surplus of 4,000 doctors by 2020 may warrant future governmental control over the enrolment of medical undergraduates, says a Malaysian Medical Council member. Dato’ Dr. Abdul Hamid Abdul Kadir said the MOH’s 2010 goal of one doctor per 600 population had already been exceeded in Kuala Lumpur, where the ratio now stood at one per 400.

He noted that when combined, the nine public and nine private local institutions, alongside foreign accredited ones, produced between 1,500 and 2,000 medical graduates every year.
“What is not in the equation is the quality of students at the point of [admission] and the quality of teaching,” he said, noting that dubious entry requirements were detrimental to the healthcare system.
Abdul Hamid made these observations during the 5th ASEAN conference on Primary Healthcare held last month in Ipoh. Nationwide, the doctor population remains inadequate with 2005 statistics estimating a ratio of one doctor per 1,400 population. read more


It may be a low estimate that currently Malaysia are receiving 1,500-2,000 medical graduates annualy because there are no statistics on how many Malaysian students are studying medicine overseas. The number of medical students counted overseas are government scholars only. There do not seem to be any overall coordination between the Ministry of Health and the Malaysian Medical Council on what is the medical manpower requirement for the future.

And if there is a projected surplus in 2020, should not action on enrolment be taken now? Every university, state and private foundations want to set up a medical school, and apparently they have no difficulty in obtaining the necessary permission. Even at this moment there are apparently not enough houseman posts for the local and returning medical graduates. With the recent changes in immigration laws in the United Kingdom, we shall be expecting more Malaysian medical graduates to return.


At the rate we are producing medical graduates, it will not be long before my experience in Jakarta becomes the norm here. In Jakarta, I was in a cab and the cab driver is a medical doctor. When asked why, he said, "Too many doctors, not enough jobs."



|posted 8 May 2007|


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