PUTRAJAYA: The statistical claim that there are 1,548 Malaysian doctors currently practising in United Kingdom is dubious, according to Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.
He said it was possible that there was a large number of Malaysian doctors in the UK before due to history-related factors, but the number might have been reduced over the years.
Speaking to reporters after launching [email protected] at his ministry here today, Subramaniam said the statistics reported by a UK local Daily Mail also did not show the age range of the doctors and that they probably comprised aging doctors who had been residing in the UK for years.
According to history, he said many Malaysians had studied medicine in the UK due to the fact that Universiti Malaya graduates were recognised by the General Medical Council.
“Most of them worked there (upon graduation) and had continued their studies to be specialists in certain fields, hence prolonging their stay,” he said.
The Daily Mail recently reported that Malaysians were the fifth highest foreign nationality working as doctors in the UK’s public health service.
Subramaniam said the government, through Talent Corporation, had taken the initiative to meet with Malaysian doctors in the UK, especially those with high skills and expertise, to return to Malaysia.
This effort was showing positive impact, he added.
Each year, he said, the ministry received 5,000 new doctors, 1,500 of whom had served and graduated from overseas.
“We are also constantly receiving about 40 applications from Malaysian doctors overseas to return to Malaysia,” he said without disclosing when this positive trend began.
He said the trend was due to several factors, including cost and quality of living overseas and the tough competition for career advancement.