29 November 2007

Resolve problems facing housemen first

The Star

I REFER to “Longer housemanship means better exposure” (The Star, Nov 27).

It is noteworthy that although the stipulated time-frame for housemanship is one year, the exact duration, however, varies from hospital to hospital.

For instance, in the government hospital that I am currently attached to, housemanship is at least 20 months, and that includes all five major postings – medicine, OBG, surgery, orthopaedics and paediatrics.

In some other hospitals, housemanship includes all five major postings but with the duration of the last two postings being three months each, which comes to a total of 18 months.

There are also places where the shortage of medical officers has prompted the management to promote a houseman to medical officer immediately after one year of training.

Therefore, if the two-year housemanship system were to be introduced, it would definitely not be much of a setback for those doing 20 months of training, as it would only be extended by four months.

Not all medical graduates look forward to joining the private sector with the intention of monetary gain.

The workload at any government hospital is stressful to say the least, and a tired doctor, after 36 hours of work, is hazardous to both the patient and himself.

Many join the private sector just to get a “good night’s sleep” and to spend more quality time with their families.

The extension of housemanship is definitely beneficial to the doctor in terms of experience and exposure, but whether the desired results would be attained is an open question.

Most times, the houseman is subjected not only to hard work but the most dreadful of all must be the fact that they get mentally tortured with a poor working environment, difficult superiors, and being left to learn on their own.

There are many unresolved problems and weaknesses in the current housemanship system that needs to be looked into, otherwise the extension would not serve its real purpose.


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