PETALING JAYA: Fresh medical graduates may be placed in private hospitals to complete their housemanship under an option being explored by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE). Speaking to theSun, the MOHE said the ministry would first discuss this option with the Health Ministry and related stakeholders including the Public Service Department (PSD) of this possibility through a collaborative effort with the private sector. In view of the increasing number of housemen, the MOHE had in 2011 placed a moratorium on the number of new institutions that can offer medical programmes since 2011. "The rational behind the moratorium is to manage the number of students entering medical programmes locally and to address concerns such as a surplus of houseman (waiting time). "The numbers that we can produce locally is determined by the MMC (Malaysian Medical Council).The quota of approved number of students per medical school at Public and Private Universities is determined by MMC and not by MoHE," Director-General of MoHE Datuk Dr Asma Ismail said. She said the students enrolled in local universities often possess stellar academic results, i.e. CGPA of 4.0 (with a few between 3.7 and 3.9 CGPA but stellar academic and co-curricular achievements), thus performance of local students are not disputed. "What we cannot control is the number returning from overseas, mainly self sponsored from Egypt or Indonesia, who also need to do their housemanship here. MMC is unable to control the number of students who go abroad on self-sponsorship as they have no jurisdiction overseas," she added. She said the nation needs more specialists and the solution is one that requires time. "As the government builds and opens new hospitals, the housemanship problem can gradually be resolved," she added. Meanwhile, Deputy Director-General of Health Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran said placing of housemen in private hospitals would be something difficult to do at present. "There are many issues that will need to be ironed out before we can do so. It would be quite difficult to place housemen in private hospitals as they will need to be able to see enough cases to have adequate learning opportunitiesy. And they also need to be familiar with many disciplines like surgery, orthopedic, pediatric, obstetric & gynecology, anesthesia and emergency. There will also be issues of whether consultants in private hospitals have enough time to supervise the housemen," he told theSun. The Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Jacob Thomas said placing housemen in private hospitals was not feasible due to a myriad of issues. "The question arises if private hospitals can cope? Also will full paying patients agree to be examined and treated by housemen and not specialist or consultants? There is also the question of who will be paying the salaries of the housemen and who will train them." he said. Dr Jacob added that all these issues need to be ironed out before placing housemen in private hospitals.