The media has been highlighting the problem of too many new doctors graduating yearly and hence no available housemanship jobs for the coming year. Indeed, the shortage of housemanship positions is real but there are several possible reasons for this.
Firstly, the number of training years has been extended to two from one previously. This will keep more doctors in their housemanship positions for an additional year. As mentioned, the number of hospitals are in adequate to cater for the increasing numbers.
Secondly, the number of specialists, which are the main persons involved in training the housemen, are in short supply. Not only is the Ministry of Health bleeding doctors to the private hospitals and our neighbouring Singapore, there are not enough specialists being trained.
There is an urgent need to improve the specialist training programs so that the new graduate doctors have an avenue to advance their careers. In this way, there is a win-win situation. Not only are new doctors being streamlined into relevant subspecialties, the glut that we now face will soon become a blessing rather than a curse.