MMC Must Clarify Conflicting Information On Cardiothoracic Parallel Pathway Recognition — MMA

MMA tells MMC to clarify conflicting information on recognition or non-recognition of the cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway programme. MMA also demands details on MMC’s planned task force on the parallel pathway issue, like members, TOR and timeline.

We refer to the Malaysian Medical Council’s (MMC) press statement issued on March 25, 2024, stating that it had never, at any time, recognised the Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) parallel pathway for the cardiothoracic programme in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) seeks clarification from the MMC on its statement as data from the past, obtained from the NSR website itself, appears to show that this qualification from the Royal College was indeed recognised and that there are Malaysian specialists with this qualification registered in the National Specialist Register (NSR). 

However, this piece of information on its recognition has seemingly vanished from the NSR website.

Furthermore, on March 15, 2024, the Ministry of Health (MOH), via an official letter, stated that graduates from four parallel pathway programmes, including the RCSEd cardiothoracic programme, can now proceed for gazettement. These doctors will eventually be applying to be entered into the NSR upon gazettement.

MMC must understand the predicament faced by graduates from the RCSEd, whose training the MOH has already acknowledged and approved, thus enabling these graduates from this parallel pathway programme to proceed for gazettement.

Whilst the issue of doctors leaving for private practice or overseas are “beyond the jurisdiction” of the MMC (referring to MMC’s statement), its decisions have a direct bearing and consequence on the delivery of specialist care to the people of the country and especially so for those awaiting cardiothoracic treatment at government hospitals. 

It was reported in the media that thousands are on the waiting list for life-saving heart surgery at government hospitals nationwide, with some patients having to wait up to a year.

In addition, MMA also calls for details on MMC’s planned task force. As this is a matter of public interest, we demand full transparency and clarity with regards to the task force’s composition, terms of reference, and timeline.

We seek MMC’s urgent clarification on this matter as many colleagues from the fraternity, as well as members of the public, have voiced confusion over MMC’s statement and recent developments concerning the issue.

Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz is the president of the Malaysian Medical Association.

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