Parallel pathway ‘immediate, viable alternative, says heart association president

PETALING JAYA – Dr Alan Fong, president of the National Heart Association of Malaysia, said that the parallel pathway was an immediate and viable option to provide cardiothoracic specialist in Malaysia.

In a press statement on Tuesday, June 4, he said that the patient waiting list for specialist care like cardiac surgery is long.

Dr Fong said, “The Council of the National Heart Association is in support of all initiatives to address the immediate shortage of medical and surgical specialist doctors in our country.”

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.

He said that the Cabinet paper containing the program would be approved at the Cabinet meeting scheduled for June 5.

He told Dewan Rakyat in March that only 14 cardiothoracic surgery specialists worked under his ministry.

In March, The Star reported that a shortage 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.

This is the third lawsuit that has been filed against the MMC for rejecting NSR specialist registration requests.

Six pathology graduates from Universiti Sains Malaysia, who are medical genetics specialists and a neurosurgeon with FRCS Ireland filed the other two lawsuits.

On May 29, Datuk Seri Zambry Ab Kadir, Minister of Higher Education, said that two issues need to be resolved. These are the recognition of cardiothoracic parallel pathways programme and NSR registration for doctors who have successfully completed the program.

Dewan Rakyat is expected to table the amendments to Medical Act at its next meeting in this month.

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