The changing landscape of junior doctor jobs in Malaysia IV
An interesting announcement was recently made by the MOH/MMC on the waiting period for housemanship, a need for screening candidates and last but not least a line about the MMC not issuing the temporary registration until the Public Services Commission offers the candidate a post as a house officer. See:
Kenyataan Akhbar KPK/YDP MPM 29 Dis 2015: Penyelarasan Pengeluaran Sijil Pendaftaran Sementara bagi Graduan Perubatan
and the Star article MMC: Medical graduates to get endorsement first before licence due to long waiting period
Is there the possibility that house officer jobs in Malaysia are not assured in the future? If you read in between the lines it seems to be the case.
Here are the facts as we know it:
1) There are a huge number of medical graduates each year both from local medical schools and overseas ones. The numbers overwhelm the available training posts in Malaysia (Too many grads, too few houseman posts), so much so there were rumours that the MOH was contemplating asking the private sector to consider houseman training in private hospitals (which the industry rejected – an unusual public rejection which implies there was some request/proposal which was not made public)
2) The quality of some fresh graduates is suspect as there are house officers who are not competent or up to the mark. This is clearly the case given the large percentage of houseman who quit, fail to complete the housemanship or had their housemanship extended (reportedly 1:5)
This is what we predict will happen:
1) The waiting period (currently 6-9 months) for housemanship will lengthen
2) There will be more “jobless” doctors in the future who will need to look for non-clinical jobs (e.g. pharma sector) or even consider re-training in other vocations. There was a report of one who quit to sell mobile phone accessories!
3) In the future there will no more permanent junior doctor jobs – all will be annual contract officers.
There is a bright side to this bleak picture:
1) Medicine will be a career only for those who truly want to be doctors
2) The job scene will be more competitive and hopefully if the selection process is fair, then the best of the candidates will be chosen.
We are however concerned if the selection process is based only on an interview by the Public Services Commission. We think a fairer and more objective pathway would be a compulsory medical qualifying exam for all medical graduates (whether from local or foreign schools) who wish to work in Malaysia. There was talk about an MMLE which is akin to the USMLE but that has yet to materialise.
In the meantime what can the fresh graduate consider? There’s no harm taking up a temp job (like Dr. K who worked in a Cafe while waiting for houseman posting – more about her in our Dobbs FB forum). Consider also research assistant posts as that will give you valuable experience in medical research. There were many other suggestions when a fresh graduate asked for advice on what she could do while waiting (again read more in our Dobbs FB forum)
If you are a medical graduate, you can join our Doctors only Facebook group, Dobbs FB, which has over 10,000 members and is the largest Malaysian doctors only group on social media. However as it is for doctors only, you may ask to join only if you have graduated and have proof of graduation or your MMC credentials (please check your Facebook inbox for a verification request – those who do not respond will have their requests to join deleted)
If you are not on Facebook you can also join our web based forum Dobbs which has been ongoing since 2000. Instructions on how to join are at http://dobbs.my