This is the number of house officers as of end of April 2010 in HKL , the biggest hospital in our country:
|Unit||Number of housemen in the unit|
|O & G Unit||50|
Just as an illustration, the orthopedic unit mentioned in the table above has 182 beds. With 52 house officers, it amounts to 1 houseman to slightly more than 3 patients.. A ratio you would not be able to find anywhere else in the world, believe me! Not even in the most advanced country!
Gone were the days when we had only 2 or 3 house officers in a unit. I remember during my time, when I was doing housemanship in Penang GH, I was for 2 weeks the only houseman in the orthopedic unit. Now I heard they too had 60 housemen in the unit (Jan 2010 figure).
Just imagine, if you have 60 house officers following a consultant doing the ward round, how are those at the back going to learn? I do not think there are even enough standing room for all of them. How are they going to examine a textbook case ( a case with classical signs and symptoms), since to do so would have subjected the patient to examinations 60 times– if the patient does not die from his illness, he might die from too much handling from these housemen!!!
The figures I quoted are real figures. I am sure those of you reading now would agree with me that there are now simply too many doctors being produced, and since there are not enough hospitals to place them in, there is no choice but to place them in the same units…
No wonder i received emails after my last posts saying that many house officrs are seen spending most of their time in the canteens, since they just have nowhere to go…
And in no time, these same people will be treating you and me, including the politicians. Perhaps I should warn them here that Healthcare is different from education. In education, if our schools are no good, they can still send their children overseas to study. But when these politicians get a stroke or heart attack, it would be too late for them to fly out to even Singapore to seek treatment. They would be treated by the same local doctors that they help in mass production.
Our healthcare standard is going to deteriorate with this sort of training of our doctors..Just like almost everything else.
I am now in the process of writing a memorandum to be submitted to the Ministry on this problem and I hope my writings can bring some sense to this madness of indiscriminate issuing of licenses to set up medical schools.