Medical Act doesn’t need to be amended to recognise specialists, says group

Noel Achariam

Dr Noor Hassim Ismail says there are already existing laws and procedures to help graduates of parallel pathway programmes. – Pixabay pic, April 14, 2024.

THERE may not be a need to amend the Medical Act 1971 (Act 50) to address issues related to the parallel pathway, or the specialist training programme, a group of professors of health and medicine said.

Its head Dr Noor Hassim Ismail said there are already existing laws and procedures to help graduates of parallel pathway programmes.

“For trainees who are still in the study system, they can be transferred to a local university programme through the same process as well.

“It is apparent that the dilemma faced by these graduates of the parallel pathway can be resolved without the need to amend the act,” she said in a statement.

She said that after undergoing the training, they will be awarded a qualification registered in the Malaysian Qualification Register (MQR) and eligible to be registered as a specialist in the Malaysian Medical Council’s (MMC) National Specialist Register (NSR).

Parallel Pathway is part of the overall post-graduate training programme and forms part of the process of finally becoming a sub-specialist in Malaysia.

Last week, Health Minister Dzulkelfy Ahmad said the ministry hoped to have the amendments done by the second sitting of the third session of parliament in June.

He said efforts to bolster specialist training through homegrown master’s programmes would be intensified to augment local capacity-building.

Hassim said the intent to amend Act 50 appears to allow all doctors with international specialist programmes under the parallel pathway to be registered in the Medical Specialist Register as specialist doctors in Malaysia.

“We understand the situation of need but we must appreciate that currently, there are nine local universities that run 106 quality assured medical specialty training programmes here in Malaysia.

“These homegrown medical specialty training programmes have undergone continuous improvement and quality assurance for over 40 years.

“This is the effort of our local universities to dignify postgraduate specialty medical education in our nation.”

He said that they are concerned with the predicament of the trainees and graduates of this parallel pathway programme run in Malaysia.

“They are the victims. They have joined a training programme that awards a qualification that is not registrable into the Medical Specialist register.  

“It is now necessary for the government to facilitate their registration as specialists.

“The current laws can allow them to be absorbed into the local programme through the credit transfer process or curriculum mapping.” – April 14, 2024.

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