Health, medicine academicians question the need to amend Medical Act

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need to amend the Medical Act 1971 to address the shortage of specialists in the country, said the Group of Professors of Health and Medicine.

Its head Professor Dr Noor Hassim Ismail said the government should instead focus on helping parallel pathway programmes (PPP) graduates to facilitate their registration as specialists.

He said the existing laws allow them to be absorbed into the local programme through the credit transfer process or curriculum mapping.

After undergoing the training, they would be awarded with a qualification registered in Malaysian Qualification Registrar (MQR) and eligible to be registered as a Specialist in the Malaysian Medical Council's Specialist Register, he said.

"For trainees who are still in the study system, they can be transferred to a local university program through the same process as well.

"It is apparent that the dilemma faced by these graduates of the parallel pathway can be resolved without the need to amend the Act," he said in a statement.

The group, he said, was unclear on the merit of amending this Act to accommodate the registration of the victims of the PPP as there are existing laws and procedures that could resolve this issue.

Meanwhile, local universities currently run 106 quality-assured medical specialty training programmes which have undergone continuous improvement and quality assurance for decades, he said.

Malaysian postgraduate training programmes conducted through the universities in this country, he said, were subjected to internal institutional (university) scrutiny and approval; must be approved by the Higher Education Ministry, among others, to ensure their quality.

He said the programmes must also be accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), with the qualification of the programme can then be registered with the MQR.

In addition, postgraduate specialty programmes need to be accredited periodically between three and five years and that the Malaysian Medical Council is responsible to ensure that medical practitioners listed in the Medical Specialist Register (NSR) from July 1, 2017, have specialist qualifications in accordance with the Act.

"We are concerned with the predicament of the trainees and graduates of this parallel pathway programme run here in Malaysia.

"They are the victims. They have joined a training programme that awards a qualification that is not registrable into the Medical Specialist register."

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad was reported as saying that the proposed amendments seek to address the gap between the PPP and the local Master's medicine programme.

This is to ensure that medical specialists who have completed their training under the programme would be registered and recognised.

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