PUCHONG, Sept 10 2012 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called on all local medical schools and those offering allied health sciences to ensure they provide quality education.
He said it would be better if the quality of local medical education set its benchmark against that of the best medical schools in the world.
"Once we have achieved that, it may no longer be necessary for us to send our students abroad as they can get equivalent or better medical education locally.
"It is my fervent hope that our medical schools get serious about offering high-quality medical education, not only for Malaysians but also for foreign students who seek quality education in our country," he said at the ground-breaking ceremony of MAHSA University College's new campus in Bandar Saujana Putra, here, Monday.
Najib stressed that the students must get the right training, and added that it was not enough for the medical schools to only adhere to the basic requirements for accreditation.
He, therefore, urged the local medical schools to seriously re-examine their curriculum not only to impart medical knowledge and clinical skills but other skills as well.
These include psychosocial skills, communicative skills, interpersonal and people skills to help medical students become good healers and competent clinicians.
He said fewer medical schools offering high-quality medical education would be a better strategy than having too many offering substandard education.
"We should also avoid sending our students to substandard colleges and medical schools abroad which has become a perennial problem for us," he said.
In a related development, the prime minister said the Health Ministry should forge genuine formal relationships with private medical schools to provide better healthcare services to the public.
He said the institutions could provide specialist care to smaller public hospitals facing a shortage of resident specialists, while the ministry could assist by upgrading their facilities, especially the operation theatres to cut down the backlog of cases for minor surgery and emergencies.
"There are many private sector specialists who are experienced clinicians and teachers. Surely they can be roped in as trainers, if they are keen," he said.
At the event, Najib also announced that MAHSA University College would be upgraded into university status.
He handed over the formal invitation to its pro-chancellor and executive chairman, Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Haniffa Abdullah.
The new campus, costing about RM500 million, will be built on a 24ha land and is expected to be completed within four years.
The campus can accommodate about 15,000 students in its faculties while the hostels can take in 12,000 students.