Ensuring everyone gets good doctors.
ONE of the basic principles taught to all medical students and doctors is Primum non cere – first, do no harm. It is a reminder that an intervention can lead to harm to the patient, however well-intentioned it may be.
This principle is even more relevant today than in yesteryear.
Healthcare today is complex and more effective than before. However, according to the World Health Organization, the likelihood of harm is high, with a one in 300 chance of being harmed by healthcare compared to one in 1,000,000 chance of being harmed while in an aircraft.
Data from developed countries reveal that one in 10 hospitalised patients are harmed because of adverse events or errors. Similar data has been found in local studies.
The future of patients and their families depend on what doctors say and do. Imagine the good and harm that can result from doctors’ actions and inaction.
The media focus on housemen in recent years raises questions about the quality of medical education and training, as well as the challenges in ensuring that everyone gets good doctors, and by extension, the quality of healthcare patients will be receiving in the future.
There are more applications for entry to medical schools worldwide. Many young people want to become doctors, whether of their own volition, at the behest of their parents, or for other reasons.
Until 2011, high academic qualifications were the sole criteria for admission to all public medical schools except University Science Malaysia (USM), which required an interview as well.
Since 2011, the Malaysian Medical Council’s (MMC) guidelines require all applicants to local medical schools to pass an interview to assess the applicant’s aptitude.
Although the minimum academic qualifications for entry into medical schools are prescribed by the MMC and the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA), there are still reports of non-compliance by some private medical schools. There are also reports that some private medical schools take in more students than permitted.
by Dr. Milton Lim.