Letters from the community.
A plea by one doctor.
Our Healthcare system is facing the brunt of COVID-19. Healthcare practitioners are on the verge of breakdown as seen by the circulating pictures and videos on Whatsapp. Many are under quarantine and unable to return home. Some are also infected. The number of patients has drastically increased with not only positive Covid-19 suffers in quarantine wards but also those needing specialised care in ICUs nationwide. Never before has the nation undergone such a critical situation in our present times.
Reports from various countries show a grim picture that the worst is not over. It has not peaked yet for us. If we go by the statistics in Italy, there is a long way to go. In Italy, they are rushing 10,000 student doctors into service and scrapping final exams. (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/public-global-health/488191-italy-will-rush-10000-student-doctors-into-service ) That is how critical the matter is!
Even here, The health ministry will station 1,000 housemen at government hospitals nationwide to help smoothen the day-to-day operations following the Covid-19 pandemic. Health Minister Adham Baba said all the trainee doctors would undergo a five-day induction training including handling of Covid-19 elements. (https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/03/14/1000-housemen-roped-in-for-covid-19-duties/?fbclid=IwAR0RNi64sY7OKVJTr6KYFdE8Kxuusf0k9GFTou3pGarkMbbXhhK2Kr9niQ8 )
My plea to the honourable Prime Minister, Health Minister and DG of Health is to allow doctors from unrecognised universities to also serve to lessen the workload of the healthcare system. Do not keep them on the sidelines any longer.
They are all qualified medical doctors in the countries they graduated from. They are an untapped talent in our midst.
Our Malaysian Medical Council didn’t have the time or resources to complete the recognition process for their universities. Many have also become specialists and even passed other qualifying exams such as the Australian Medical Council exams, PLAB (UK) etc. All this talent are ready to come assist immediately here. They just need the green light by the authorities.
Previously similar instances have been considered as when foreigners from unrecognised universities were allowed to do their specialist courses here at our local Malaysian universities. Our unrecognised doctors saw their own foreign classmates allowed to do a privately funded specialist course here when they were given special registration to practice when doing the course in Malaysia. Thus, a precedent had already been set then of taking in unrecognised doctors although they were foreigners but Malaysians in the same situation were denied such an opportunity.
The Health minister has the power under section 12 of the Medical Act to bring them in. Previously this had been attempted in Feb 2002 by YB Chua Jui Meng but was not carried out even after publicly announcing it in the national press and media.
Even retired doctors and nurses are being recalled now. (https://www.thestartv.com/v/health-ministry-recalling-retired-doctors-nurses-to-reinforce-frontlines-says-health-dg ) Most of these retirees are at an age where they are very susceptible to Covid-19 which has a high mortality rate for aged patients. Why risk bringing them in when we have a ready pool of doctors willing to work at the prime of their life who have stronger immune systems.
Thus, I hope this plea of the unrecognised doctors who might number in hundreds is taken seriously and is acted upon quickly to lessen the present workload. They are all Malaysians and are ready to serve the Malaysian public. Please stop casting them aside but instead cherish their spirit to serve their fellow men with their skills.
Doctors willing to serve