Limiting the number of medical graduates is not the answer

Dr Bernard Ting

KUCHING: While there are undoubtedly more doctors these days, public expectation of quality of service has also increased, said Dr Bernard Ting, medical lecturer at the Department of Psychological Medicine, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

He said that limiting the number of local medical graduates would not necessarily reduce the number of doctors as there are also international medical graduates — those who have returned to work in Malaysia after completing their studies abroad.

“Indeed, training local medical graduates is important because they are more aware of the local culture of our people and can communicate and provide treatment more effectively,” he said.

He was commenting on a recent statement by Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Education Bureau chairman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing in which he urged the Health Ministry (MoH) and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) to significantly limit the number of medical students each year as well as raise minimum entry requirements to read medicine.

Ding attributed these proposed measures to the oversupply of doctors in the country.

Dr Bernard also pointed out that training medical students was not under the jurisdiction of MoH and MMC, but it fell on the shoulders of the Ministry of Higher Education.

“I understand that the Malaysian Medical Association has been working closely with MoH on this issue,” he said.

According to him, some 100 to 150 medical students graduate from Unimas every year.