CONGRATULATIONS on your expose on the houseman sham. I think it is high time this issue be brought to the attention of the authorities concerned.
As a medical officer, I’ve seen the rapid deterioration of the quality of housemen over the years. When I completed my housemanship a couple of years ago, my batch was still deemed “lousy” and did not reach the standards required by the ministry. That was with 10-15 housemen in charge per department. Now with 40-50 housemen per department, it seemed that their training has been compromised. What frustrates me the most as a medical officer is how some parties attempt to “protect” their interests, citing that they are stressed. To be honest, what stress?
Back in the old days, there were only two or three housemen in charge per ward whereas now, there are sometimes up to 10. Apart from that, there were only two housemen on call per day back then but due to the influx, the number has been increased to six. I reckon the patient load has not increased too drastically in the last two years. So they have fewer patients to see and more time for rest. To my shock, work performance is actually worse than before. The more people are involved, the harder it is to govern, the shoddier and less responsible these people become.
I remember back then, since there were so few of us, we were required to work as a team in order for work to be done and I believe I carried on this trait to the medical officer level. But not this current batch. To make matters worse, these housemen are offered compulsory post call afternoon off the following day. What about medical officers and specialists who also stayed in the hospital and slogged the whole night? Nothing.
Sometimes, they only see a few patients at night and manage to sleep the whole night but still are given the courtesy. They are given less responsibilities yet are allowed to get more privileges than their superiors. This does not help with the fact that many of these housemen graduate to become medical officers. Not only do they lack knowledge but their attitude, carried on from their pampered “old” days, would remain poor.