MP Bemoans JPA Scholars Skipping To Australia For Medical Training

Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali responds that medical grads are encouraged to carry out their housemanship abroad before returning to Malaysia to do their two years’ compulsory service.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Kampar MP Thomas Su has complained about medical graduates on Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships who decided to undergo their housemanship in Australia because of a lack of placements in Malaysia.

The DAP lawmaker highlighted that he has received so many complaints on how medical graduates have to wait months or years to get an opportunity to carry out their training in government hospitals here.

“I have understood that in just this month, there have been 16 JPA graduates from Monash University who have violated their JPA scholarship [contract] and taken the decision to carry out their housemanship training in private hospitals in Australia because they have not been given a place to carry out their housemanship in our country,” Su told the Dewan Rakyat while debating the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) 2021 budget at the committee stage yesterday.

“I believe that they will not return to their country after they have undergone their housemanship training in Australia.”

He pointed out that medical graduates from Monash University can straight away apply for their housemanship in Australia upon completion of their degree.

“In doing so, the JPA scholarship medical graduates from Monash University have failed to perform their respective responsibilities and obligations according to the terms set out in the JPA scholarship contract, which requires them to work with the government for up to 10 years after graduation,” the DAP lawmaker said.

These individuals do not need to register with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) — which regulates Malaysian medical practice — after graduation and there is no record regarding their need to fulfil their obligations under their JPA scholarship, which according to Su, has led to losses amounting to millions of ringgits to the government that funded their courses.

“What is the action taken against them for breaching their JPA scholarship contract and in ensuring that the money spent by the government to fund medical courses for JPA graduates is returned?”

The Kampar MP suggested to the health ministry to make sure that all the JPA recipients register under MMC upon completion of their degrees to ensure that they undergo their housemanship training in Malaysia.

Besides that, he suggested that there should be some form of method in ensuring that all medical graduates are given the opportunity to carry out their responsibility in public hospitals, so that they don’t take advantage and break their scholarship contracts.

Let Medical Graduates Do Housemanship In Private Hospitals

Su expressed disappointment with the months’ long wait for medical graduates to get housemanship placements in public hospitals in Malaysia.

“This situation is very disappointing because many professional medical graduates do not do anything during this waiting period,” the Kampar MP stressed.

“Some of these graduates are forced to drop their professional training and enter other fields.”

He suggested for MOH to allow medical graduates to carry out their professional training in private hospitals and for the government to recognise their housemanship training if it is done in private hospitals.

Medical Graduates Encouraged To Do Housemanship Overseas: Deputy Health Minister

Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali speaks to CodeBlue on November 19, 2020, at CodeBlue’s office in Kuala Lumpur.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, who was responding to the Kampar MP while winding up MOH’s budget at the committee stage, said that medical graduates are encouraged to carry out their housemanship training overseas.

“For the JPA-sponsored graduates that want to do so, they have to inform JPA,” the deputy health minister said.

“For graduates who did their training overseas, they can come back and complete their two years’ permanent service here.”

Besides that, he said that currently, there are only 192 medical graduates who have passed the Public Service Commission screening and are waiting for their housemanship.There are six housemanship intakes in a year and the next one will be in February 2021.

According to the deputy minister, there are a few criteria that a private hospital should meet before becoming a housemanship training hospital. Among the criteria include:

  • Has at least six specialty disciplines, which includes general medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, pediatrics, orthopedics, emergency and trauma or anaesthesiology or psychiatry or public health as the sixth discipline.
  • Has at least two permanent medical residents in each discipline.
  • Has at least two specialists in each discipline.
  • Has an adequate number of cases in each discipline.
  • Has various types of cases and a good mixture of cases, including tough and easy cases.
  • Has an adequate number of hospital beds: one houseman to four beds for all disciplines.
  • Willing to pay trainee doctors’ salaries.
  • Able to bear medico legal risk and indemnity.
  • Private hospital patients who are willing to be treated by a houseman.
  • Medical officers and specialists who are ready to train the housemen.

“These are the conditions needed before a private hospital can take in housemen for training,” the Bagan Serai MP said.

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