Tackle serious glut of doctors, urges former MMA head

Former MMA president Dr David KL Quek has urged the government to curtail local universities from taking in students for medical studies.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr David KL Quek has warned the government of a serious glut of doctors, saying there were not enough positions for these medical graduates at various hospitals.

He said the country had overproduced doctors over the last 10 years. He said the number had more than doubled between 2008 and 2018.

According to data, there were 57,831 doctors at the end of 2017.

“Why are we allowing this to happen? So many medical graduates are still waiting for jobs.

“There are no places when they finish their housemanship. There is no place in the civil service to absorb them, even as a medical officer.

“We did not plan properly the manpower, facilities, amenities and the hospitals necessary to cope with this training of house officers.

“We need to rethink how we look at that,” he said at a roundtable of Human Capital for Healthcare in Malaysia today at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

Quek said the health ministry and the government had no clue how to place these newly-qualified house officers and medical officers.

“In 2009, we decided to have a doctor to population ratio of 1:400 but the system cannot absorb this that quickly.

“It was a misconceived plan, without adequate thought and serious projection of logistics, manpower or amenity capacities.”

Quek said the skill sets of doctors are poor partly because there is not enough supervision nowadays.

Some of these doctors are from overseas and some from local private universities, he added.

However, Quek, who graduated from Universiti Malaya, felt most of the house officers from public medical schools are good.

He said there was a need to limit the intake of medical students as there was no guarantee they would get jobs.

“One of the ways is to tell the parents out there that there is no place, no job in future for their children.

“Don’t give loans to those who want to go into private medical universities. Then the numbers may drop.”

Quek also said the same situation applied to nurses, with 12,000 to 15,000 nurses out there without jobs.