KUALA LUMPUR, August 26 — A total of 1,335 medical graduates have yet to receive a placement for their training, eight months after approval by the Public Service Commission (SPA) on December 7 last year.
Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said all the 12,153 housemanship slots for medical graduates are still filled and are currently waiting to be vacated from time to time, pointing out that 5,000 to 6,000 medical graduates are produced annually, exceeding training positions in the public sector.
“There are many house officers who are not able to complete their training within two years and some need to extend their training due to various reasons such as maternity leave, sick leave due to health problems and extended training due to competency issues,” Dr Adham said in a written parliamentary reply to his predecessor and Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad, who asked the health minister to state the reason for the excessive number of unemployed graduates in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.
Dr Adham, in his August 24 parliamentary reply, also stated that a total of 415 dental graduates have not been appointed since January 1 this year after SPA approval for their compulsory government service, while a total of 196 pharmacy graduates approved by SPA have not been given their training placements since February 8 this year.
The health minister also pointed out that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has increased the number of graduate training hospitals from 38 in 2009 to 48 in 2019 to shorten the waiting period for the placement of medical graduates.
“A total of six more hospitals are in the process of implementing the housemanship programme in the next two years.”
Dr Adham highlighted that MOH has worked with the Consortium of Public University Hospitals in Malaysia to increase housemanship placement slots in university hospitals to 950 slots, such as in University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Hospital University Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM), Hospital University Science Malaysia (HUSM) to accommodate more Grade UD41 house officers.
“The total graduate training slots have been increased from 10,835 in 2013 to 12,153 currently,” Dr Adham said.
MOH has also increased the number of alternative disciplines that can be selected by house officers from five disciplines to nine disciplines, including placements in government health clinics.
The health minister stated that the government, through the Ministry of Higher Education (MOE), has extended a moratorium in offering new medical courses in institutes of higher learning in the country for another five years until 2021, where the moratorium covers three aspects —no addition of new medical colleges, no addition to new medical programmes, and no increase in the quota of medical students.