The Health Ministry is looking at reviewing the housemanship training programme and possibly reduce its duration, said Deputy Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
“It used to take up to one and a half years, which has since been cut down to between eight and 12 months, but it is still not acceptable,” Dr Lee said at a forum on housemanship at the International Medical University in Bukit Jalil.
He also said other issues have been raised in the past, such as the high extension or dropout rate of housemen.
“About 40 per cent of housemen end up extending (their training programme) with 4 per cent dropping out, which is a tremendous loss.
“We had about 11,000 posts for officers, 40 per cent of whom will extend. This could be due to factors including an inability to cope with the stress or requirements, with a few extending their programme by as long as six years,” Dr Lee said.
Ultimately, he said the ministry simply wants competent doctors once their training is completed.
“The solution will be to review the training programme, and to look at the requirements.
“It may be that we will not have to mandate them to train in every field. Housemen themselves will have to decide at the end of the day what they want to do and if they want to do it. They will need to have the basic discipline,” Dr Lee said.