Malaysia losing its 'best and brightest' medical grads to Singapore annually

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is losing some of its "best and brightest" medical graduates to Singapore annually, said former Universiti Malaya (UM) medical faculty dean Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

She claimed that at least 30 of UM medical graduates per year choose to undergo houseman training in Singapore instead of Malaysia.

In a series of tweets today, Dr Adeeba said there was an urgent need to plug the brain drain of fresh medical graduates and medical officers due to "lack of posts" and "clear training pathways".

"Remember, it costs us almost RM1 million per student to train.

"And now we are also apparently going to help plug the National Health Service (NHS) shortage (in the United Kingdom) by also sending our medical officers to the UK," she said.

She said unless the country was serious about addressing healthcare workers' issues in Malaysia, the healthcare system would continue to have this problem "forever".

"I don't blame my young colleagues at all. I too would go where the opportunities are.

"We are failing them. How can we expect to build a resilient and world-class health system when we have this continuous internal and external brain drain?" she questioned.

Adeeba was responding to an article by online health news portal CodeBlue on how the emergency department should not be expected to handle all cases that arrive.

The article comes after reports of purported shortcomings at the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun in Ipoh, Perak.

It claimed that critically ill patients had been stranded for days in the hospital's emergency and trauma department due to a shortage in beds, healthcare staff, as well as a backlog of postponed follow-up appointments.

Adeeba also said during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was clear that health and the economy could not be separated, adding that it would be unfortunate if the country did not learn from it.

She said rebuilding the nation's health system was paramount, and must begin with human capital.

"Yes the vaccine is helping us out of this one, but if or when the next one comes along we may not be so lucky."


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