Thursday, March 28, 2024

PP's illegal FRCS will not overcome shortage

The storyline repeatedly told by proponents of the 2016 MOH-initiative Parallel Pathway (PP) program is shortage of Medical Speacialists. 

When this blog first pursued this subjectNST, Code Blue and Star was selling the shortage narrative in February in response to decision by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) to not recognise the program prematurely commenced by then DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham. 

It was part of a media campaign presumably orchestrated by The Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons (MATCVS), the program champion and coordinator who issued a statement on Feb 15 and objected to the MMC decision

Apparently, part of the campaign is to get media to block the publication of the truth and any dissenting views. 

Recently, Sarawak Minister and a heart surgeon himself, Dr Simm Kui Hian in hs FB joined the bandwagon with the same shortage argument to lend support with subtle threat to invoke Malaysia Agreement 1963 to pursue its own course of action.  

Whether MOH intend to bypass the power accorded to MMC using gazettement, the law remained that MMC has final say to determine the qualification to enter the National Specialist Register and legally accord doctors as Medical Specialist.

Shortage is no reason to ignore the law

In view of the legality, there is a need to remind the "medical scam syndicate" that the shortage storyline does not hold water. 

Simply because FRCS International holders are not qualified under MMC rule and no lawsuit can change that. The fellow (or diploma or degree or certificate) is not the same as the recognised Intercollegiate FRCS in which 90% of Medical Specialists in Malaysia holds. 

Furthermore, MOH PP program do not have enough teaching surgeons. This blog published a letter from a concerned CTS Surgeon to explain MOH doctors and MATVCS members are not interested to train the students.

Excerpt below:

Running a training program is a serious endeavour, requiring full time dedication, passion and sacrifice. It is a full time job with:                            

(list of 1. - 16. functions)

All these have to be documented as evidence for MQA assessment and approval. 

Using the program structure provided by RCS and doing the work on a part time basis is just not enough

We were told by the current MOH head of CTS in the recent MATCVS AGM, that many of the MOH surgeons are not interested in teaching students

Since there is a need to train new young surgeons and trainees, this can be made mandatory and the universities can help with training the trainers (TTT) courses. 

In our local setting, all of these work are best done by the Universities who are regularly doing this kind of work on an everyday basis.  

As evident, the RCS advisor who came to assess the program noted that UM was said to be the best training centre in the PP - indicating that an academic institution will do well running such a program and not centres that are running busy services. 

This is where the MOH's 2016 initiative to increase the number of Medical Specialists failed to plan and take into consideration the law and process of higher education in Medicine.

The after thought by RCS Edinburgh to use local University to undertake the training makes it a local program that require clearance from Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE)'s Malaysian Qualifying Agency (MQA).

It is better off that local Universities developed their own program than being taken a ride by foreign institutions selling their brand name but fall far short of the quality of its established original brand.  

The University Deans acted treasonously to allow local University facilities and faculties be "used" for foreigner to issue its papers and be paid for examination fees and yearly membership subscriptions on its effort?   

RCS Edinburgh for PP not recognised 

Back to MMC. Its function under the Medical Act 1971 below:

In the earlier posting, we reproduced a press statement from Noor Hisham that specifically said only MMC is empowered to determine the criteria and who qualify to be on the National Specialist Register, below:

It is in line with the Medical Act 1971 as below:

MMC had recently issued a statement below:

The second para explained the same. 

And the last para confirmed that the RCSEd for PP as claimed recognised by MATVCS in February (as below) is NOT recognised:  

The law

With reference to the Medical Act 1971 (amended 2012), Medical Regulation 2017 and MQA Act 2007, the non-compliance is clear cut in the areas below:

1. running a foreign program (MQA Act 2017);  

2. recognisation of program (Medical Act 1971); 

3. registration of program (MQA Act 2017); 

4. acceptance as Specialist (Medical Act 1971); and 

5. registration in the NSR (Medical Regulation 2017 and Medical Act 1971). 

MMC has no legal basis to recognise PP even if the "syndicate" wants it or political pressure applied. Still need to clear MQA as required by 14A (2)(h).

So how will PP increase the number of Medical Specialists with an unrecognised examination and a Medical Specialist program that could not provide sufficient training and not done in accordance with the law?   

MOH should have secured the prior approvals of MMC and MOHE's MQA before commencing the program in 2016. 

Noor Hisham have broken the law, and run the risk of being charged, and face possible imprisonment. The 4 rejected PP candidate should sue him instead.    

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