MOH, MOHE, MMC, and MQA Must Collaborate To Produce Cardiothoracic Surgeons — Malaysian Medics International

Malaysian Medics International urges collaboration between MOH, MOHE, MMC, and MQA to recognise the cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway and to create a cardiothoracic surgery Master’s program in a local university that’s open to all across race.

We are deeply concerned with the recent issues regarding the cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway conducted by Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in conjunction with the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (RCSEd) and its derecognition.

The parallel pathway programme was created in 2016 to address the huge deficiency of cardiothoracic surgeons nationally.

Over 1,500 patients, as quoted by The Star in March 2024, are currently awaiting heart and lung surgery. Cardiovascular diseases are on the rise every year.

Thus, we humbly call upon the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) to consider the following:

A National Critical Shortage Of Cardiothoracic Surgeons Will Cause Potential Fatalities Among Patients Awaiting Surgery

There are currently only 14 independent cardiothoracic surgeons serving in public hospitals. This poses a great risk to the more-than-1.500 patients currently waiting for life=saving heart and lung surgery.

Inaccessibility to cardiothoracic services could result in fatalities among patients or further complications and exacerbations within their pre-existing medical conditions, raising serious concerns about health care delivery, patient wellbeing. and safety.

Hence, urgent attention is needed to address the critical shortages and long waiting times for cardiothoracic services. A targeted approach would include tabling and amending the Medical Act at the next Parliamentary meeting.

This is especially crucial in the wake of two of the pioneer parallel pathway graduates having been offered jobs in the United Kingdom and the recent graduation of the next five candidates from the parallel pathway programme.

These are nine potential independent cardiothoracic surgeons, which will almost double the existing workforce, should they be granted National Specialist Register (NSR) recognition.

This will go a long way in alleviating the long wait for cardiothoracic patients and minimise potential risks, complications, and fatalities in waiting patients.

Collaboration And Communication Between MOH, MOHE, MMC, And MQA

Efficient collaboration and communication should be prioritised by the MOH, MOHE, MMC, and MQA for the recognition of the parallel pathway. Clear-cut criteria and effective communication concerning the guidelines that must be met by the programme will ensure its continuous recognition in producing more qualified cardiothoracic surgeons.

The MOH, MOHE, MMC, and MQA should also collaborate to produce Malaysia’s first cardiothoracic Master’s programme, which should be open to all candidates, regardless of race.

This programme, in conjunction with the parallel pathway, will play an important role in addressing the nation’s dire shortage of cardiothoracic services.

This will in the long term produce more cardiothoracic surgeons, which can increase the number of trainers and result in a larger capacity to train more surgeons.

This multifaceted approach will address multiple pre-existing problems such as a shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons, a lack of a local training programme in cardiothoracic surgery, and a lack of trainers and training spots.

In conclusion, we urge the MOH and MOHE to promptly consider and address the aforementioned issues. While this protocol might be perceived as a temporary drastic measure taken to cope with the decrease in house officers or medical officers, it could also impact the present and future of Malaysia’s health care.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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