Doctor Associations Support New Entrance Exam For Aspiring Specialist Doctors

The new exam is expected to ensure quality.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 – Various doctor groups have pledged their support for a new entrance examination conducted by Medical Deans Council of Malaysia (MDCM) and the Malaysian Education Council, that doctors seeking specialist education are now required to take.

“Some specialties, such as general surgery, require an interview and passing an entrance exam, while others, like orthopaedics and ophthalmology, run basic science exams as entry exams,” Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr N Ganabaskaran told FMT, referring to the Medical Specialist Entrance Exam (MedEx).

He noted that current postgraduate programmes run by public universities are not standardised, and MedEx would ensure quality.

However, he voiced concern on the exorbitant RM800 fee, which MMA had asked the governing councils to consider slashing to RM500.

Dr Milton Lum, a member of the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) stated that MedEx could allow the authorities to determine the aptitude and professionalism required of the aspirants, and this would in turn ensure the quality of specialist care.

“MDCM is implementing this exam so that progress can be controlled.

“I see it as an attempt to regularise what has seemed to be a haphazard process of choosing specialties,” he said.

Separately, president of the Muslim Doctors Association, Dr Ahmad Shukri Ismail, said that MedEx could help determine the quality of specialist care by reducing what he described as the “overwhelming number” of doctors seeking specialist training.

He said more than 5,000 doctors are graduating annually, and Malaysia did not have enough hospitals to accommodate them.

“With thorough selection and vetting done through MedEx, it will be easier to fit the numbers, adding that the move would also ensure stellar knowledge and competency.

The first examination is scheduled to be held on November 16.

MedEx will replace entrance examinations for 12 specialties and also impose an entrance examination on two specialties which did not have one.

The 12 specialties are paediatrics, general surgery, pathology (inclusive of forensic pathology), family medicine, psychiatry, radiology, rehabilitation medicine, sports medicine, neurosurgery, paediatric surgery, transfusion medicine and nuclear medicine.

The other two that did not have entrance examinations are clinical oncology and plastic surgery.

The exams will be conducted in five centres nationwide, namely Malaysian Examinations Council in Selayang, Selangor; Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur; Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kubang Kerian Kelantan; Universiti Malaysia Sabah in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak in Kuching, Sarawak.

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