Bumi policy, lack of funds stall UiTM pathway for UMMC cardiothoracic specialists


According to a source, it may cost RM100,000 for each trainee to undergo an unspecified programme at UiTM.
PETALING JAYA: Plans by Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) to send cardiothoracic surgery graduates and trainees under the parallel pathway programme to Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) as a route to get recognition by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) have been put on hold.
According to sources, the major obstacle was UiTM’s Bumiputera-only policy, which will require amendments to certain laws and university regulations before this can go ahead as there are non-Bumiputera doctors involved.
One source said cost was another factor as UiTM is apparently asking for RM100,000 for each trainee to undergo an unspecified programme so that MMC can place them in the National Specialists Register (NSR) before they can practise in the country.
“This is puzzling as UiTM qualification is still absent in the NSR website list today. The decision to accept the UiTM proposal was made hastily during a meeting which was attended by representatives of MMC, UiTM, the health ministry, the higher education ministry and the Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons.
“The chairperson declined to accept views from a few who warned of these problems. The authorities only realised there were issues after sending out letters to parallel pathway surgeons and trainees to apply to UiTM,” the source told FMT.
Quoting an email, FMT reported last week that three cardiothoracic surgeons, including one who has already completed this training with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) were asked to apply for places in UiTM
The hospital said UiTM had agreed to offer this path as a solution to the problem of their non-recognition by MMC.
In January, Institut Jantung Negara asked eight RCSEd-trained cardiothoracic surgeons and trainees to seek accreditation by applying to continue their programme at UiTM.
The UiTM programme was given provisional accreditation by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) in 2021 but has not been recognised by the MMC yet. The first batch of graduates from its cardiothoracic surgery programme are not expected until 2028.
Another source said one of the UMMC trainees had decided to accept the offer after objecting initially, but the authorities put this on hold after realising the problems.
The source said the health ministry had allocated RM90 million under the last two Malaysia Plans for the parallel pathway programme to produce specialists who are badly needed to meet the demands of the national healthcare system, which is under severe stress.
“The unprofessional decision by MMC shows that this will all go to waste due to its refusal to recognise qualifications from a globally recognised institution like the RCSEd. Many of these surgeons spent a lot of time in local hospitals for their practical training with hybrid stints overseas funded by taxpayers
“These surgeons have also passed the mandatory RCSEd Joint Specialty Fellowship Examination in cardiothoracic surgery which is used in both Hong Kong and Singapore. And yet they are not being recognised,” the source said.
FMT has reached out to UMMC for comment.

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