DAP’s Guan Eng Supports ‘Pedigree’ RCSEd Cardiothoracic Surgery Parallel Pathway

DAP’s Lim Guan Eng supports the “pedigree” RCSEd cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway, noting that the programme was started by Malaysia’s cardiac surgery father Dr Yahya Awang. “Let us not sacrifice excellence and meritocracy for mindless bureaucracy.”

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — Former DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng announced today his backing for the parallel pathway, intensifying the war over the programme for medical specialty training.

Lim, who is also Bagan MP, supported Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (MATCVS) president Dr Basheer Ahamed Abdul Kareem’s statement yesterday, who refuted claims that the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) parallel pathway programme with overseas royal colleges may produce “unsafe” specialist doctors.

“The parallel pathway programme for medical specialists is widely recognised by top medical regulators from UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong and the coordination of the exit exams by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), whose pedigree is unquestioned,” Lim said in a brief statement.

“The parallel pathway programme was started as a joint venture by the father of cardiac surgery in Malaysia, Tan Sri Dr Yahya Awang, to open up opportunities to talented local doctors and mitigate the severe shortage of specialists in Malaysia to save Malaysian lives.

“Graduates of the parallel pathway programme are now serving in the best hospitals in the world, but face the risk of being disqualified as not good enough to serve at our local hospitals.

“What will happen then to all the patients at government hospitals awaiting life-saving surgery? Let us not sacrifice excellence and meritocracy for mindless bureaucracy”.

Lim, a government backbencher, is the third lawmaker to openly support the parallel pathway programme, after the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) rejected applications by at least four graduates with the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Cardiothoracic Surgery (FRCS Ed) to register as specialists on the National Specialist Register (NSR).

In a statement last March 25, MMC president Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, who is also Health director-general, claimed that the regulator had never recognised the FRCS Ed in cardiothoracic surgery qualification. 

Four graduates from that parallel pathway training – two of whom are working at the National Heart Institute (IJN) and the other two in the Ministry of Health (MOH) – have since filed suit in the High Court here for a judicial review to contest MMC’s rejection last December 21 of their NSR registration applications.

Besides Lim, Ipoh Timor MP Howard Lee and Senator Dr RA Lingeshwaran (both from the DAP) have also expressed support for the parallel pathway, ahead of the government’s plans to table in June amendments to the Medical Act 1971 to recognise the parallel pathway programme.

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