Housemen are doctors in training

Reproduced from,

Response to the article Trauma faced by some housemen in hospitals’ by ‘Disgusted Malaysian, Kuala Lumpur’ dated 8th December 2014.
Posted on December 10, 2014 by DG of Health

stethoscopeI refer to the article published in The Star entitled ‘Trauma faced by some housemen in hospitals’ by ‘Disgusted Malaysian, Kuala Lumpur’ dated 8th December 2014.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) appreciates all feedbacks which have been provided on the housemanship training. Housemanship programme emphasises on training rather than merely employment, whereas the medical officers’ main role is to provide medical service, hence their roles are different. The 2-year housemanship has started since 2008. It encompasses training in 6 disciplines namely General Medicine, Paediatrics, Surgery, Orthopedics, Obstetics and Gynaecology, and alternative postings (either Emergency medicine, Psychiatry, Anaesthesia or Primary Care) for a period of 4 months each.

The housemen flexy working system has been implemented since September 2011 and was improved further from January 2014.The introduction of the flexy system is among the continuing efforts by the government to maximise the houseman’s learning process which aims to further improve their working conditions. It provides a chance for them to gain experience and take advantage of the learning opportunities to be competent and safe doctors.The flexy system requires the housemen to work an average of 65-75 hours per week. Housemen are entitled to a one day off per week but it is not necessary for it to fall on weekends. Housemen are doctors under training and they must fully utilise the opportunity given to them to improve their competency. MOH is monitoring closely the housemanship training in government hospitals to ensure the flexy system is successfully implemented.
Feedback pertaining to Housemanship Training need to be chanelled to the Housemanship Training Committee at the hospital and State Health Department. It is worth mentioning here that the doctors’ utmost responsibility and inherent value is providing safe and quality care to the patients. The nature of doctors’ working hours is different than other civil servants because patient care requires continuous services of 24 hours a day or 7 days a week.
In appreciating our doctors’ commitment, the Government has given various incentives such as the critical allowance of RM 750 per month and a special allowance for housemen of RM 600 per month. It is hoped that with all the efforts made by the Government, the aspiration to produce quality and competent doctors for the nation will be achieved.

Director-General of Health Malaysia.


It was worth reproducing this very succinct response from the Director-General himself. The public must realize that housemanship training is meant to protect the ultimate stake holders in healthcare which are the patients themselves. As medical graduates are diversely different, it is important that they undergo a period of supervised training prior to being allowed to practise independently. In fact, this is not unique to medicine but literally in every profession, where a period of supervised training is required to assess competency in a real world scenario.

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