w.I.b:warung ikan bakar:
Harap-harap INI KALILAH !
Monday, April 25, 2005
I went to ACS Ipoh, my alma mater, last Saturday night to get my sister home after the annual school play. Prior to that, I attended a wedding dinner of a med school senior.
And while I observed that people are happily and warmly catching up with one another at these two occasions, I realised that I have neglected to maintain some friendships which has now seemed rather distant and unfamiliar.
My old Ipoh church members, my drama partners in school, my med school juniors, my cousins, my school teachers, my seniors, my classmates, NH aunties, etc - At some point in time, I have chosen to spend my time and attention on other things instead of them.
"Well, sometimes, instead of lamenting about the institution, we should see more holistically as to why we think that the institution has failed? Prof Mashkuri once asked me personally... "Betulkah standard UM tu menurun, BT? atau sebenarnya standard student yang menurun?"
It is true that the institution has failed in many ways but in actual fact, many of the students have also failed!"
UM is 100 years old this year, according to some clever retrograde extrapolating chronology-defying calculation.
I like a zealous Health Minister. I also like the fact that the present Health Minister happens to be a doctor himself. We have gone through many years with non-doctors being at the helm of this important ministry.
Dr.Chua Soi Lek, from the impression painted by his good friend, The Star, seems to be just the right man doing the right thing at the right moment.
But I would like to bring out a few points to consider before we jump to conclusion about these doctors.
1)Doctors are trained for years to prepare them for clinical work. So it is a waste if they do not do clinical work. I believe that engineers, lawyers and accountants, et cetera are also trained for years to do what they should do - engineering, handling legal matters, and accounting. But are there not engineers who moved on to administration and lawyers doing business?
2) I wonder if Dr. Chua still practise his medicine, being such a high profile MCA man, and also a Federal Minister. One thing I know for sure is that Dr. Mahathir and wife despite having trained for years in medicine, are now practically obsolete in clinical work. These high-profile politicians, who happen to be doctors, are probably not doing clinical work as well. Should they start seeing patients 2 hours a day also? (Probably I, a mere MS, can do a better job than them.)
3) Senior doctors who have committed their energy to administrative work should not be regarded as second-class doctors or doctors who shirk their calling. Of course, the majority of doctors are in the clinical workforce, but we also need hospital managers, and district public health officers who plan good health policies and make them work. They may not be giving intravenous fluids to patients, or saving lives by CPR, but by effective policy-making and sound administration based on their knowledge and experience as doctors, they also are playing a role in creating a good environment for health promotion and health recovery.
4) Are administrative skills alone enough to manage a hospital or a public health department? There is a reason why the top posts go to senior doctors and senior nurses. Just like why an engineering firm probably has managers who are trained in engineering as well. They know the intricacies of the business they are managing after years of experience in the same field. Dr. Chua, being a doctor himself, should know better than to offer such posts to people who are probably business administrative graduates with no prior knowledge of the principles and practices of healthcare.
5) But then again, probably the point above is not a strong one because Dr. Chua would have been more understanding if that is true.
6) Making these old doctors to go back to clinic would not solve the problem of long-waiting time and shortage of doctors, and hence overworked government doctors. We need young, vibrant doctors (who definitely can manage patients better compared to the reluctant ones) committed to clinical work. We need more of them. We do not need to force the district Health Officer to buka klinik, but we need to make sure the good government MOs and consultants do not leave for private practice by giving them a better working environment and financial compensation, and rewarding career based on merits, not relations and cronyism and racism.
So Dr. Chua, this is my humble comment. And I hope to enjoy my clinical work when I get license one day.
Medical schools should provide ample opportunities for every medical student to experience before it is too late. Similarly, shy students like me should stop waiting for offers but instead offer oneself for assistance.