Groups say that more urgency is needed to address the parallel path issue.

PETALING JAYA : Groups say that while they welcome the government’s willingness to resolve the issue of parallel pathways, urgent amendments to the Medical Act are needed when the Parliament meets later this month.

The Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery honorary secretary, Prof Dr John Chan Kok Meang said that graduates of the parallel pathway training were ready to work in public hospitals.

The impasse has lasted too long, and it is unsettling to patients, doctors who care for them, and graduates.

He said: “We hope that the amendments will include recognising training pathways and qualifications already recognised by Health Ministry, and recognising Ministry Hospitals as training institutions in order to continue successful parallel pathway programmes.”

Dr Chan also praised the Minister of Health and Higher Education’s commitment to the issue.

He also emphasized the need for an evaluation process to be conducted by the Malaysian Medical Council to assess the qualifications and training of specialists who have not yet been recognised by the MMC.

It must be checked by MMC’s specialist committees, with experts in the field, to ensure standards and quality. Not just by committees without representation of the relevant specialties, or the secretariat.

To ensure quality, all training programs must meet the standards set by the National Postgraduate Medical Curriculum for the specialties concerned.

He said that the MMC should have the right to appeal any decisions it makes.

Dr Chan also said that reforms were needed to the MMC membership in order to better reflect the Health Ministry’s role as the country’s largest healthcare provider.

He said that the Health Director-General should also continue to be the MMC President to ensure accountability to the Ministry.

The president of the Malaysian Medical Association, Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz, has also called for a greater urgency in this matter.

“We are grateful for the commitment, but we need to be more urgent.” “The Parallel Pathway Programme is a vital tool in producing specialists and has contributed steadily to this goal since the beginning of time,” she said.

Dr Azizan also emphasized how doctors affected by the crisis could not be recognized as specialists during this time.

She said: “This will lead to longer waiting periods for life-saving treatments as well as increased morbidity and death amongst our citizens; who are already suffering the brunt from a compromised healthcare systems.”

She said that a restructured MMC would be a timely move.

“The introduction of e-voting is necessary to give doctors a voice in who represents them on the council.

Let’s get this over with once and for all. “The health needs of our nation are paramount,” Dr Azizan said.

The Star’s exclusive front page report on June 1 reported that the Health Ministry could be given greater clout to conduct and recognise specialist training programmes in order to deal with the conflict between parallel pathways.

The Star was told by a source in the ministry that it could be achieved through amending the Medical Act of 1971.

Sources said that it is possible that the Health Minister will be given “clearer” powers to veto MMC decisions in the event of a conflict and to allow certain checks and balanced on the council.

The Medical Act 1971, as amended by Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmed, the Minister of Health on May 27th will resolve the issues related to parallel pathway program.

In March, he informed the Dewan Rakyat of only 14 cardiothoracic surgery specialists working in his ministry.

In March, The Star reported that the lack of cardiothoracic surgery has put some 1,500 patients with heart and lung diseases in government hospitals into a dire situation.

Some of these cardiothoracic doctors will be retiring in the near future.

The MMC does not accept the qualifications of Malaysian graduates sent to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh by the Malaysian government to study cardiothoracic surgeries.

The MMC responded by saying that it never recognized the RCSEd program.

Four of these graduates already sued MMC because they were not registered on the National Specialist Register.

The MMC rejected NSR specialist registration requests three times, and this was the third time that a lawsuit had been filed.

Six pathology graduates from Universiti Sains Malaysia and a neurosurgeon who is FRCS Ireland certified in neurosurgery filed the other two lawsuits.

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