Malaysia hosts first ever external Cardiothoracic Surgery exam outside the UK

Saturday February 24, 2018


Chairman of Examiners for the UK and Ireland JSCFE Dr EE John Smith speaks to Malay Mail during an interview at Royal Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur on February 23, 2018. — Pictures by Yusof Mat Isa


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Malaysia hosted the first ever Joint Surgical Colleges Fellowship Examination (JSCFE) in Cardiothoracic Surgery outside the United Kingdom this weekend, marking a leap forward in the country's healthcare standards.


The JSCFE is offered by the four royal surgical colleges — England, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ireland — with those taking the exam having to travel to the UK for them in the past, but several other specialities, including general surgery and trauma, have been held overseas.


Chairman of Examiners for the UK and Ireland JSCFE Dr EE John Smith told Malay Mail at the Royal Lake Club here the purpose of having the exam outside the UK was to make the examination accessible by holding it where most students were from.


"Over the years we have moved towards offering the exam overseas for the purpose of disseminating high standards of surgical examinations and improving patient welfare.

"Besides helping enrich the global medical community, most of the students are from the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.


"Of course having the examinations in Malaysia is also a testament to the top-class facilities available for this purpose... it will be very hard to fault what we have here. There is an examination suite here far superior to what I have seen in Europe," he said.


The exam, held at Universiti Malaya, will run for two days, on February 23 and 24, with the first assessment being a clinical examination to assess the effectiveness of surgeons in recommending treatment for patients.


"This will be followed by an oral examination without the presence of patients," he said adding that the exams would indicate if a candidate had a sound knowledge of the scientific basis and was experienced and competent at applying that knowledge to patients.


Those sitting for the exam are in fact practising doctors with the assessment built around investigations, discussions treatment, types of operations and possible complications with the 20-odd examiners all being from the UK.


Surgical exit exams have been held for many years in the UK, and are sat by those who have completed specialist training in their chosen field and passing these exams is a pre-requisite for registration as a surgeon in the UK.


JSCFE local organiser Dr John Chan Kok Meng speaks to Malay Mail during an interview at Royal Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur on February 23, 2018.


Cardiothoracic JSCFE Local Organiser Dr John Chan Kok Meng said holding the exam had set candidates at a definite advantage as previously they had to work in the UK for four years before being able to take the exams.


"It allows us to raise the standard, without having to go to the UK. They still may do so if they wish, but now they have access to a gold standard examination which they can take locally, ultimately benefiting Malaysian patients.


Chan said the exam were witnessed by officials from the Health Ministry and the National Heart Institute, among others, who gained invaluable experience.


"This has also been an eye-opening experience for those involved with organising these exams at the local level and represents an opportunity to gain the skills to become examiners themselves," he said.


British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadell said the exam would help mark the candidates as world class surgeons who would be recognised by any reputable medical institution.


"This is one of the things the UK is very good at, that we have these accreditation programmes, standards for lawyers, accountants, surgeons and other professionals that are recognised.


"That is part of the brand of these institutions."


British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadell speaks to Malay Mail during an interview at Royal Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur on February 23, 2018.


Treadell said the exam was part of the wider "Education is Great" programme being promoted by the UK and said the Educational links between the UK and Malaysia are deep and long-standing.


There are 18,000 Malaysian students in the UK, the largest concentration of Malaysian students overseas outside of China.


"British institutions have also come here to be a part of the Malaysian ambition to be an education destination with five British campus universities here and 30 British international schools," she said.


"Additionally through our academic relationships there are another 80,000 Malaysians pursuing British qualifications here. We have history, we have affinity we have familiarity and we are friends."




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© 2012 Malaysian Association for Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery