Wednesday, February 14, 2024

FRCS Medical Specialist training scam?

The Star Online yesterday reported Minister of Health, Dato Seri Dr  Dzulkefly Ahmad gave commitment to solve the FRCS International qualification from UK under the name Patallel Pathway Training program.

He said any solution must take into consideration the local law, qualification and standards. It seemed a normal politician and government leader statement till Code Blue portal highlighted the program was rejected and not accredited by the Malaysian Medical Council.

Code Blue and the Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (MATCVS) via an NST article dated February 6th seemed to be lobbying and pressuring the Minister for presumably sub-standard medical training to be accredited under the emotional plea to solve shortages of medical specialist.

This is the usual modus operandi for political and policy making lobbyist, but not for professional accreditation similar to IEM or or MACPA etc. It reminded of degree issuing scam but this would the highest level involving medical specialists and medical NGOs.

NGOs or self-interest groups or the Health Ministry are supposedly not authorised to carryout educational and training programs. It is the purview of the Higher Education Ministry. 

Upon enquiries with former schoolmates and University mates familiar with the medical profession, the following message circulating within their professional community was shared and it is alarming.

Republished in entirety below:

FRCS International issue

There is a need for us to properly scrutinise and separate the statements given here by irresponsible people  currently leading the College of Surgeons. 

They are suppose to listen to all members and not just act on the interest of certain quarters. 

The College of Surgeons should first and foremost protect the interest of all its members and also protect the interests of the nation. 

Majority does not necessarily mean right. This not a democratic process but this is about the interest of the country. 

They claim that we need more surgeons and i do agree but do we need to do this without considering the detrimental effect to the country in the long run? 

They obviously have vested interests thus vehemently trying to protect the Parallel Program(FRCS International Diploma Program). 

Some have very close personal ties with the RCS members and others were given honorarium diplomas from the RCS(you can check this). 

Some of us were strategically chosen to be given these honorarium but gracefully declined because we knew the game that was being played. 

Be careful!!!!…there are misleading statements in this letter such as ‘recognised by GMC UK’ and ‘intercollegiate” being use to blur our understanding divert our attention from the stands of the above institutions. 

1. GMC UK do not recognise the FRCS International diploma (Parallel Program) simply I’m sure because of Immigration and Human Resource implications to the UK, which i will elaborate later. 

It is a commercial entity to gain annual registration fees from individuals who feel the need for personal branding. 

But with it, one cannot go to the UK and apply for Consultant job or even go into training at Senior Registrar level.          

Why do i say if it was recognised in the UK, it would be an Immigration and Human Resource problem for them? 

Imagine the thousands of 3rd world doctors were to apply for work n training in the UK, it would be an immigration nightmare for them. Thus, they put in a clause…”this diploma is not recognised in the UK”. This is confirmed by MMC via their fact finding mission. 

2. ⁠The only recognised FRCS diplomas (non International) are those who pass through the Intercollegiate exams which requires a training position in the UK with their training number. 

Of course these unscrupulous people will show you that the certificate is the same and the word ‘International’ not written but in record it is written to differentiate between those with Intercollegiate and those with International qualifications. 

You don’t need to do 6 years of Parallel Program to get a FRCS diploma. Those who pass our local training program (a training program recognised by the home  country such as a Masters/ Doctorate) are eligible to sit for this exam. 

So any of our local doctors who have passed our local training are able to sit for this examination. So where is the standards? Why do we need to do a 6 year program?

3. Those who join this Parallel Program(FRCS International) do not have the training no. as oppose to the intercollegiate trainees. 

And the training is 100% in their local country. Of course there is an option for work in the UK for 1-2 years but these r none GMC UK recognised position n do not have any UK training no. 

Their tenure in the UK does not guarantee proper training and doesn’t go in record for CCT (Certification of Completion of Training) in the UK. 

Above all that, those who opted to go to UK use the MRCS diploma instead and NOT the FRCS International diploma for job applications in the UK, simply because unlike the FRCS International, MRCS is recognised for work but up to registrar position. 

They do not get registered training senior Registrar position which is need for next level of training to get the CCT

Only those with FRCS with CCT are recognised in Malaysia. They are unable to do so. 

So they attempt to use UM to provide this certification. Thus making this a 100% Malaysian training program and subjected to MQA evaluation and certification. 

They also claim to be the same as the FRCS( Intercollegiate) and 100% Malaysian program which is utterly preposterous and misleading. 

At their convenience, they also say that part of the training is in UK so not subjected to MQA. 

As mentioned above, the training in UK is just optional at the most and not recorded as CCT UK. Thus it is just an elective posting and not a necessary as requirement to graduate from the program. 

Moreover, those who went overseas do so after passing the FRCSCth (International) examinations thus further proving that it actually is a local program subjected to MQA rules and regulations. 

They try to confuse everyone including both the Health and Higher Education Ministers and the public and try to create pressure from the public via social media. 

4. ⁠Since these individuals with these FRCS International diploma are  100% locally trained, it poses a BIG problem for us.  Why do i say so?

If we agree to recognised it in Malaysia, we will be recognising all those who passed the diploma from any other countries in the world. 

Can u imagine droves of doctors from many third world countries starting to apply for jemployment in Malaysia. 

Eventhough you may want to welcome these doctors to help clear our waiting lists but do you actually know whether they are trained properly to our local standards? 

UK is wise and already washed their hands off but we may be jeapardising and risking our citizen with these doctors whom were not train here, and we do not know the quality of their training at their respective countries. 

The FRCS International is just a brand and it actually similar to EOM products in which we do not know its quality. Do we want this for our country? 

This can be a disaster in the making. 

As the saying goes; Prevention is better than Cure…we need to ensure quality before we allow these FRCS International diplomas in. 

Our trainees might be our good quality bcos we train n monitor them ourselves.  I do emphatise with them for being dragged in to this conundrum 

Thus without compromising our standards, we should absorb them into our local program…reassess n map them into our local training despite the fact it is an illegal program using the standards set by Malaysian Medical Council(MMC). 

MMC will not recognise a degree which is not recognised in its home contry, such is the FRCS Cth International aka CTS PARALLEL PROGRAM

If we accept them as equal to our local program and open the flood gates for foreigners to come in, we may be doomed for a major disaster and wouldn’t be able to revert back.        

This reminded me of my late father’s wise advise when i was young:                                        

An average man learns from his own mistakes, a wise man learns from other’s mistake but a FOOL NEVER LEARN. Do please be a wise person. 

Rukyard Kipling the famous 19th century novelist once wrote;

If you can keep your head while others loose theirs…You are a Man. 

Our numbers resisting this may be small. We have been criticised, vilified and humiliated behind our backs we are will to fight for the truth and protect our nation. 

We consist of senior people including past presidents, ex dean and senior surgeons who understand our past history and can see the way forward clearly because of our past experiences. 

We gain nothing from this except to stop a tsunami that may cause devastation to our training program. 

We are wise and majority does not necessarily mean right. 

Please learn from history, the similar problem faced by Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong who have their own programs. 

We still allow and encourage our doctors to obtain the FRCS International diploma more for the sake of benchmarking rather than for recognition.                              

But like them, we should INSIST on  only our locall training program which cater for our unique patients and their diseases which are peculiar to our country and region. 

We are saying that in the context of our population and our Law, we are better than a 500 year old program which itself is evolving for the need of our own people. 

Do not be fooled by the FRCS brand,  but look at our structure and standards (MQA  certified) which is acknowledged by our Australian counterparts and is the best fit for our nation. 

With regards to the training of more surgeons, our Masters of Surgery have proven successful and you don’t see the fight for a Parallel Program in General Surgery because they have trained a  significant number of surgeons for the need of the country. 

So the Masters/Doctorate of Cardiovascular & Thoracic can do the same through the right leadership instead of bickering and busy promoting a foreign diploma to compete with the local program for training places. 

Yours sincerely, 

Dr. Raja Amin bin Raja Mokhtar MBBS(Malaya) M. Surgery(Malaya) FRCS(Edinburgh)

Retired Head & Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at University Malaya

Senior Consultant Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgeon

Past President MATCVS

Something to be worry about should such sub-standard and in sufficiently trained medical specialists are allowed to practised especially in the more expensive private clinics and hospitals.

Lives are at stake!


Anonymous said...

the writer is just showing vested interests of some individuals using dubious legalities (meant for university students) to push their own university programmes whereas professional bodies in Malaysia n UK n ministry of health had been training specialist for decades

Anonymous said...

They have been training for not just decades. Could be longer but the fake. No proper training but expdct Msia to do. Yet refuse MQA. Nonsense

Anonymous said...

If program good why cannot practise in accredited to practise in home cpuntry UK?

Anonymous said...

If MQA is that great, perhaps I should remind you of the AUCMS scam which had previously put the future of 300 students at risk. They had MQA. But they were a scam. They did not deliver. Similarly, for a given qualification, you sometimes see a stark difference in the quality of work between those graduating lets say from UM, and those graduating from lets say brickfields college. Both have MQAs for their qualifications. But in the end, it’s the conferring institution that matters.

Anonymous said...

While the articles raise some important concerns about the FRCS International diploma program, it's crucial to acknowledge that the content seems to heavily reflect personal biased views and a lot of unrealistic statements.

1. Response to this statement "If we accept them as equal to our local program and open the flood gates for foreigners to come in, we may be doomed for a major disaster and wouldn’t be able to revert back."

Do you seriously think that a foreign doctor with this qualification would choose to come to Malaysia, a 3rd world/Developing country with this qualification which is also recognized by first world country such as Singapore and Hong Kong, nonsense and unrealistic personal view

2. Response to this "Majority does not necessarily mean right. This not a democratic process but this is about the interest of the country. "
Yes, if the majority of consultants in a professional body eg MATCVS had already said so and support the Parallel program, one should sit down and ponder if the minority has done it right or not, but sadly the supports from the majority were not respected.

3. Response to this "We are saying that in the context of our population and our Law, we are better than a 500 year old program which itself is evolving for the need of our own people. "
How can a local university program be compared to a 500 year old Royal College? I am puzzled from what aspect you looked into for making such a statement?

When one decided to bring down a ship, he or she will find thousand reasons to make it sink. Please put yourself in their shoes and think about a way better solution than asking the trainees to go through the university program, it is redundant. It doesn't make you a savior but the other way round.

RS said...

By every account , Raja Amin was a regular murderor at UMMC. All UMMC records & mortality must be exposed. Including that of IJN and serdang. Sifat tamak among this malay HP6 drs never seems cease.

RS said...

You want work permit, pass your IELTS first and start from SHO / Registrar like the rest. Its just a paper. Compete like the rest there. There is no fcuking bumi belacan policy in UK. Everyone in cardiac there got a cardiac qualification like the frcs ct. You tak boleh compete, then use the jamban backdoor in ukm, uitm or some similar shithole and call yourself whatever you want since your kind believe in takdir so much.