Family Medicine Parallel Pathway Recognised By Ireland, But Not Malaysian Medical Council

ICGP says the MinTFM family medicine parallel pathway is recognised in Ireland. “Irish and Malaysian trainees/ graduates are fully equivalent in every respect in the eyes of the Irish Medical Council”. But MICGP isn’t recognised by the Malaysian Medical Council.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — The Malaysia-Ireland family medicine parallel pathway programme for family medicine specialist training is recognised in Ireland, said the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP).

The Medical Council in Ireland confirmed last January 16 that all graduates of the Malaysia-Ireland Training Programme for Family Medicine (MinTFM) who successfully complete the Membership of ICGP (MICGP) training and examination – and are awarded a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Specialist Training (CSCST) – are eligible for automatic registration on the Specialist Division of the Medical Register in Ireland.

“This now means that both the programme in Ireland and here in Malaysia are fully equivalent,” ICGP chief executive officer Fintan Foy said in a January 29 letter that was posted on X by MICGP graduate Dr Syazana Ali, who is gazetting as a family medicine specialist (FMS) in the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“You will no longer have to apply through what was called the Category E route. Irish and Malaysian trainees/ graduates are fully equivalent in every respect in the eyes of the Irish Medical Council”.

“Thanks to the support from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Higher Education, and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), we continue to make excellent progress towards full NSR (National Specialist Register) status here, which in your case is required as a matter of urgency”.

Dr Syazana is from the first batch of MinTFM graduates. Her gazettement in the MOH as an FMS will be completed in three months by July, after which she will need to apply to the MMC for registration as a specialist on the NSR.

However, MICGP isn’t on MMC’s list of recognised postgraduate qualifications in family medicine. The MinTFM parallel pathway programme was launched in 2019 when Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was then the Health director-general and MMC president.

A list of MinTFM frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the website of the foreign university branch campus of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Dublin (UCD) states that the MICGP exam is recognised in Malaysia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

“However, the aim of this programme is to train Family Physicians to meet the needs of Malaysia”.

The FAQs also state that examiners will be from Malaysia, “with support from Irish examiners. All questions are contextualised for Malaysia”.

A former long-standing member of the MMC, in an anonymous letter to CodeBlue, claimed that MinTFM isn’t recognised by the Irish Medical Council, pointing to MinTFM’s website that does not mention the parallel pathway programme is recognised either in Ireland or Malaysia.

He also alleged that MinTFM is not an accredited programme in Malaysia and that it did not undergo the required regulatory processes here.

Besides the family medicine parallel pathway with the MICGP qualification, the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Cardiothoracic Surgery isn’t included on MMC’s list of recognised postgraduate qualifications either, prompting four pioneer graduates to take the regulator to court when the MMC rejected last December their NSR registration applications.

A Malaysian neurosurgeon, currently based in Hong Kong with the Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in neurosurgery qualification, has also filed a judicial review application to contest MMC’s rejection last October of his application to be registered as a specialist on the NSR.

In both these cases, MMC refused to recognise their qualifications from the parallel pathway training. Budding family medicine specialists with MICGP may soon encounter the same problem of NSR registration in just a few months.

Both Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad and Higher Education Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir, after meeting yesterday, plan to submit a joint Cabinet memorandum on proposed amendments to the Medical Act 1971 to resolve the parallel pathway issue. Dzulkefly previously announced plans to table the amendment bill in the upcoming Dewan Rakyat meeting that begins in the last week of June.

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