Supply and Demand

8:36 AM

First there was this press statement:

STPM Top Scorer Applies to Study Medicine, Offered Nursing

Then, there was this news:

And later in the week....

What is happening in Malaysia today? Too many bright students I suppose. Its good that the young lady has a passion to study medicine but does she know what she is getting into? Does she know what it takes to be a doctor? Its not enough to just have good grades! There is so much more to it! I really hope this meme does not reflect her reason for wanting to take up medicine (linked to my previous post on SPM Top Scorers).

Currently there is an OVERsupply of doctors. I am not sure if the politicians have noticed this, but the amount of medical graduates has been steadily increasing multiple folds. In just 2 years I have noticed a drastic increase in the number of housemen in service.

In 2011, when I was just a houseman in Emergency Department (ED) of Taiping Hospital, there were only 5 housemen per shift. One or two of us would be in charge of Red Zone while the rest will tend to patients in Green Zone or Yellow Zone. Each housemen is expected to perform everything necessary from taking a detailed history, physical examination, draw blood, serve medications and perform ECG. Just ONE houseman. ONE houseman can be in charge of at least 3 to 5 patients.

In 2012 when I was a medical officer in ED, I noticed that there were FIVE, and at one time TEN housemen in Red Zone alone! One patient can be managed and seen by 5 to 10 housemen. It got so bad that they would divide the task;

ONE houseman would take history
ONE houseman would perform physical examination
ONE houseman would look for veins to puncture
ONE houseman would hold the patients hand
ONE houseman would prepare to release the tourniquet
ONE houseman would help open the needle cap
ONE houseman would insert the branula

Very efficient eh? But when their shift ends and another batch comes to report for duty, NO ONE passes over the case. The favorite excuse would be:

"I baru masuk shift, I don't know the case"

In other words DAH RAMAI SANGAT DAH!

The news about limiting the amount of places to study medicine is old news. It should have been applied YEARS ago. But when a student (usually its the parents) starts to complain to a political party, some big shot will be a hero for political mileage and suddenly all that limit just disappears....expecto patronum!

Then, when there is increasing demand for medical degrees, some weird new university will start to offer medical degrees. They suddenly crop up everywhere, even when there is supposed to be a freeze on new medical degrees. Behold, the Universiti Bawah Pokok!

When something goes wrong or the university goes bust the government is expected to come to the rescue, forcing some good local universities to absorb the students into their program. It will only involve more of the taxpayer's money. Not really good for the economy. For those who are really interested to pursue medicine in a private university, just stick to universities like Manipal and International Medical University...the others ok lah, but take it at your own risk. (I am not paid to promote these universities, how good a doctor a person is depends a lot on a particular individual).

Well, that's my 2 cents...what's yours?

Here's Dr Pagalavan's take....Do you smell what the college is cooking?


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  1. your recoms of imu and manipal are bad choices. choose any public U, else any cheaper private u as long as it's recognised by mmc. save the premium on tuition fees for better investments, like in a property for rental incomes. the saving will come in handy for whatever purpose. manipal is not even recog in india!

  2. So as to spare individuals from the edifices of their life we do need to furnish them with the feeling of persistence and resilience about things as these are such the terms which let person ready to comprehend its importance.


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