PETALING JAYA - Medical students who slogged through their five-year year programme may just find that places are limited in the training hospitals.
Senior doctors foresee that a selection process might be imposed on medical graduates in the near future in view of the high number of 5,000 graduating each year.
Students may stand a better chance of getting into the limited number of training hospitals as housemen if they graduate from better ranking schools.
Training hospitals, where graduates planning to practise locally have to undergo housemanship, could only cope with about 3,000 new housemen each year.
Healthcare sources said that about 4,000 to 5,000 medical students would graduate annually, with more than half returning from overseas.
While those graduating from local universities, especially public universities, and established overseas universities have fewer issues entering the healthcare system, those graduating from foreign universities with a poor track record might face difficulties.
Universiti Malaya Medical Faculty dean Prof Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman (pic) said the Malaysian Medical Council was considering introducing a common licensing examination for all graduates to ensure that only those with adequate training were given positions in these hospitals.
"There may not be enough houseman and medical officer posts. The Health Ministry may select those from schools with a proven track record," she said.
A source said training hospitals in the Klang Valley, for instance, were accredited with multiple private medical schools, as well as some public universities, resulting in doctors being overstretched and too many students practising on patients.
He said the Cabinet should reduce the number of programmes and the number of students entering local medical schools by 70 per cent.
Dr Adeeba said funding bodies too need to be selective and send students only to better ranking schools.
"My concern is that our top students are being sent abroad to universities of much lesser ranking than local medical schools," she said.
Dr Adeeba said that while the various authorities need to do proper human resource planning, parents should wake up to the fact that there would not be adequate posts for doctors in government hospitals and hence, should not push their children into studying medicine if they did not have the aptitude for it.
She cited a number of students who struggled with the demands of the five-year programme, which they had no interest in.
A senior doctor, who declined to be named, said the situation would only get worse each year if nothing was done.
The Cabinet, he said, should start capping the number of students entering medical schools.