General

The plight of junior doctors in Malaysia

Created by:

 
28 Jun 2016 - General
 

It's been 3 years since I've graduated from medical school and I've been working with the minstry of health ever since. In reading the recent article (http://today.mims.com/topic/7-reasons-why-doctors-are-quitting-practice-in-malaysia) posted on MIMs regarding the reasons behind doctors leaving their jobs, I must confess that the thought of leaving this career also came across my mind many times during my housemanship stint and that the reasons stated in the articles are very true. In 2015, Malaysian deputy health director-general Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran said about 1,000 of the 5,000 housemen employed each year did not complete their two-year training stint despite lesser working hours (as compared to our seniors) have been implemented and more attention given to address issues faced by housemen. Like many of us, I chose to be a doctor. I was inspired by our family physician and wanted to be like her. During the years leading up to medical school, some young junior doctors I knew discouraged me from doing medicine, giving poor lifestyle as the main reason. However, due to my naivety, passion, determination and mostly stubborness I launch myself into the start of this career. The warning signs started in medical school. Although I was just a student, I realize then that  the hours I put into my studies (including hospital work) varied vastly from those of my peers taking up other courses but somehow I pressed on. My housemanship to be honest wasn't all too bad, it was stressful at times but mostly I'll sum it up as enjoyable or really, I don't know since I this could be my body's protective feature talking, trying to preserve my sanity and positive outlook on life. My brain might have purged the bad memories and retained most of the good ones. So, if you're reading this, take it with a pinch of salt. I hear it again and again, that the reason behind junior doctors quitting is due to our poor working attitude and unwillingness to put our hands on the plough. Perhaps, there are some black sheep amongst us but I have to disagree on that statement. I know of many talented, capable and responsible colleagues who would consider quitting or have quit medicine. To me the reason behind junior doctors leaving or migrating to other countries is the lack of leaders that genuinely care for the well-being and career advancements of those under their care. If our leaders cared, they would know that their doctors deserve good salary, better working hours since they need to stay healthy and have time for their families too and deserve a better training system. If doctors are quitting, it might just be that the system is failing them. The blaming of this phenomenon on attitude problems does not suffice, change is needed and Australia should be a country our policy makers need to look at since so many doctors are migrating over, they must be doing something right!

HI Eileen, excluding those in the master programs, medical officers in Malaysia are not assigned mentors. After horsemanship, request for specialty can be made but more often than not placements are assigned at random and most doctors find themselves working in departments they may not have any interest in. Lucky ones find guidance from enthusiastic specialist, others rely only on their self-motivation to propel themselves forward. The 'leaders' I mention in my post are directed at polic...
 (Total 91 words)
I can understand your plight. A similar situation exists among Indian doctors. There are hindrances to the journey of a doctor in India which begin right from his mode of entry into a medical college. The national debate right now is about whether there should be a single common entrance exam for all medical colleges in the country or there should be separate exams held by different states. After finishing graduate examination, the number of seats for clinical branches does not corroborate with ...
 (Total 188 words)