Thursday, October 13, 2011

Can You Smell the Impending Disaster?

Though I'm currently out of the system, I do still pay attention to the healthcare news in my home country. I must say that I'm quite concerned, and this worry started long ago but analysing from the current situation, it is apparently not showing any good changes, and I think many of you will agree with me that, we're foreseeing more problems to emerge along the way.

Perhaps I'll just share this article posted on newspaper yesterday by S.A, followed by some evidence or views from others:
Young Doctors Mollycoddled

"I REFER to “Overworked housemen” (Letters, Oct 5) and other grouses that increasingly make their way into our media by Generation Y housemen. As a specialist in a government hospital in Selangor, I feel that instead of silence that may be misconstrued as guilt, there is a need to reply.

We are now at a crossroads in our health system. The high standards that were maintained through the years have fallen by the wayside. This is especially evident from the constant complaints of the younger generation, although the system and the government are bending over backwards to accommodate them. The reasons:

-- An overload of new housemen/doctors – 500 a year in 1998 and 7,500 in 2011, with the number estimated to rise to 10,000 in coming years.
(Read: Quality first, not quantity)

-- Too many medical schools in the country – 42 at the last count, with some having very low standards. Indonesia with a population of about 300 million has half the number. How did these colleges come to be recognised?
(You'll understand how. Read: Corruption in Medical School)

-- Too many medical schools recognised overseas, with the standards, especially of Russian ones, being extremely low.
(This topic has been discussed far too many times, but we have not seen any measures taken. It was extensively debated long time ago, perhaps you can read: POTS I, II, III, IV. To be fair, I must say that not all Russian grads are substandard, I have worked with a few good ones.)

-- So we are now inundated with housemen to train, wherein 60% are of very low standard – meaning not even fit to pass the finals in a medical school exam, let alone to treat patients.
(I can understand why the words "very low" were used. You need to see to believe how incompetent a medical graduate can be. Read this: Unqualified doctors in medical practise)

-- We, the specialists, are forced to retrain and even reteach these incompetents.
(As result, significantly less time was spent for clinical work and eventually patients suffer the consequence.)

-- There are only so many times you can give advice to a person who doesn’t listen – sometimes when a patient’s life is at stake, voices have to be raised! Don’t you agree?
(I think everyone who cares for patients will agree to this. Medical error pays an extremely high price - it is life that we're talking about.)

-- Increasingly, our politicians get involved when some VIP’s son or daughter who can’t cope, just wants to float through. Many specialists have been given letters of warning, when all they were doing was enforcing appropriate disciplinary action in respect of housemen who had gone AWOL.

-- The number of litigation cases against the Health Ministry due to housemen is at an all-time high. (And do you think this will further increase?)

-- The shift system was opposed by all senior faculty in the ministry, vis a vis all senior specialists, but it was forced on us. Who is going to monitor all these housemen under the shift system – the specialists?

-- When these housemen become medical officers and specialists, are they also going to go on shift?

-- We have better things to do than mollycoddle a tsunami of sub-standard doctors. If we are not careful, there will be a great exodus of specialists from the public health system in the next few years. (Read: Unhealthy growth of medical schools)

All you see in government hospital nowadays are the poor and the illegals – everyone else has an insurance card! So to the powers that be, wake up and smell the coffee."
My general advice is thus:
Before a decision to join medical school, make sure you're genuinely interested and have some ideas of doc's life. (Read: For future doctos - Part 1 & 2)
If you're already in the system (fortunately or otherwise), make sure you strive to be one of the best. When over-supply becomes a reality, only good ones will be employed. And that day will not be too long away from now!


maileng said...

unfortunately just met one,which is a young relative.Sigh.

Darren Lee said...

Oh I understand after reading your blop post.
Interesting blog that you have!;)

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