The following is an extract from a self-proclaimed non-politics commentator. He/she says he/she is a professional in the medical field. In summary, he/she thinks our biomedical services sector is in a mess…
Being in power, unchallenged power, for such a long period of our history has bred a level of complacency so that leaders do not feel that the public needs to understand or seriously discuss issues. The most expedient way of going where you want to go is unfortunately via a top-down dictatorial approach. This approach has been over-used. Has there been enough planning and discussions?…. Not much apparently.In the biomedical area, this lack of planning and discussions have wreaked real havoc in the system. Take for example, the hospital clusters. We have over a period of 20 years gone through various levels of clustering, and declustering, and now re-clustering. Each Minister that comes along pushes a hobby-horse position. Hardly evidence of long term planning. Medical manpower planning? Hardly any, apparently – because we have flipped-flopped from too many doctors, to the present situation of being desperately short of doctors. Suddenly we require 3 medical schools….. of 3 different educational systems? This is planning? Almost overnight, the US residency programme was foisted upon all and sundry. If there had been any long term planning, it was far from evident. Medical education is now in a mess. We have an undergraduate and a postgraduate system existing side by side. We have flirted with problem-based learning, then discarded it. We have integrated and disintegrated the curriculum. And we have the really bizarre situation where our medical students are not expected to have studied biology. Duh? And we are expected to believe there is someone somewhere who is responsible for planning all this?No one discusses this publicly because everything is driven from the top. Very heavily driven.Foreign talent is critically important for us to push towards excellence. But without appropriate signals that policy makers are concerned about protecting the interests of our home grown and local medical/biomedical professionals, one cannot avoid feeling that the economic pie is not really for local consumption. The mass of biomedical and life science graduates and postgraduates we produce annually find it hard to find jobs in the sectors they have trained for, despite the very rapid expansion of the biomedical sector.
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