Shorter housemanship for outstanding grads

Engaging session: Dr Jeyaindran had a lively discussion with medical students at the talk.

Engaging session: Dr Jeyaindran had a lively discussion with medical students at the talk.

FUTURE medical graduates may be able to undergo a shorter housemanship stint.

“If you can pass your assessments with excellent marks, we may decide to shorten your housemanship to 14 months,” said Deputy Health director-general (Medical) Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran.

The housemanship stint is for 24 months.

“To qualify for this, housemen must score excellent marks (85% and above) in three of their posting exit exams,” he told medical students during a talk at Univ-ersiti Malaya (UM) last week.

He said the three types of postings are surgical-based – either surgery or orthopaedics, medical-based –– medicine or paediatrics, and obstetrics and gynaecology.

Dr Jeyaindran said that after applying to a committee, the houseman would then be assessed by two other consultants from a different hospital to ensure their competency as medical officers.

He added this was suitable for those who also want to pursue medical research and need to enter a postgraduate course to do so.

However the ministry is still in talks with universities to allow these “accelerated housemen” into the postgraduate programmes.

As of now, to enter a master’s programme, one has to complete one-and-a-half years as a medical officer.

Dr Jeyaindran who had an engaging discussion with the enthusiastic students, said the initiative was necessary as the world was moving from time-based training to competency-based training.

He said it will be a hybrid system where clinical competencies and core knowledge are combined.

“We still want to produce doctors with both good clinical knowledge and skills.”

He said that this will also speed up the process for those who want to pursue postgraduate studies.

Currently, the housemanship takes a total of 24 months with six postings divided into 16 weeks.

He said that the fast-tracking for housemen was likely to be implemented by early next year.

There are 10,000 placements for housemen and they are required by law to complete 12 months.

Siti Sarah Johan, 21, a medical student from Universiti Malaya (UM) said that “fast-tracking” a house officer would not resolve the problem of insufficient positions for housemen.

The insufficient number of positions for housemen is the reason why many medical graduates cannot start their training, she added.

“There will still be too many medical graduates and there is no guarantee that you will get a placement quickly,” added Siti Sarah.

Medical student Hian Chuan Kai, said the accelerated programme was a “great idea”.

“It would allow more medical graduates into the system and they won’t have to wait so long to get their placing,” said the 21-year-old from Perdana Univer-sity.

UM medical student Navinnash Kumar Gopal, 22, was of the view that the fast-track system would be good for those who were competent as house officers.

However, the downside was that they would not get enough clinical exposure if the stint was for a shorter period.

Source: The Star