Medical specialist shortage: Scholarships for external post-grad courses mooted

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Oct 18: The state government should offer scholarships to medical officers to pursue post-graduate courses to address the specific specialist needs of the state, urged Dr Kelvin Yii.

Yii, who is the special assistant to Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen, said this pioneering move will not only address the need for more doctors in the state, but also directly help improve the quality of healthcare for the benefit of the people.

He said the state government’s recent efforts to sponsor at least 200 Sarawakians over the next five years to pursue medical studies in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) is welcomed, but it would not address the current need for and shortage of specialists.


“Currently the pressing need for doctors are not for new graduates as there is currently a glut of medical graduates all around the country. Many will have to wait six months to a year for housemanship as there are only reportedly about 5,000 slots a year.

“What is seriously lacking is the amount of specialists in the different fields,” he said in a press statement today.

He said the government could set conditions on these scholarships, including the number of attempts to pass the exams and the number of years recipients are bonded to the state.

The increase of specialists, in return, will result in better training in the hospitals for housemen, and also allow more hospitals to be upgraded to teaching hospitals, thus directly addressing the problem of lack of training spaces and a long wait for newly graduated doctors, he added. — DayakDaily