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Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Care for the Elderly takes off in 2020

Pank Jit Sin
31 Oct 2019
Professor Datin Dr Chia Yook Chin, Associate Dean of School of Healthcare and Medical Sciences, and Head of Department of Medical Sciences, Sunway University.

A new course targeted at GPs and doctors with an interest in geriatric care is set to be launched in Sunway University next year. in Jan 2020

The course will be the first of its kind in the country, said Professor Datin Dr Chia Yook Chin, Associate Dean of School of Healthcare and Medical Sciences, and Head of Department of Medical Sciences, Sunway University. Chia, who is responsible for bringing the course to fruition, said the diploma course will be taught by geriatricians from the teaching universities and Ministry of Health hospitals.

“These are practicing geriatricians and professors,” said Chia, alluding to the qualification and quality of lecturers partaking in the course.

About the course
According to Chia, the course will be a 1-year hands-on training programme. For the most part, participants will log into Sunway University’s e-learning platform and listen to the lectures in real time. The lectures are carried out in a two-way interactive platform and the participants may ask questions as the lecture progresses. “It’s not meant to be a didactic session,” said Chia.

The lectures will be conducted at a pre-arranged time to  ensure maximum presence from all the candidates s. The hands-on sessions will be carried out at the nearest hospital with a geriatrician to the doctors’ place of practice.

The course fees are expected to be competitively priced at about the current rate of postgraduate diplomas. Chia said the University understand the financial difficulties faced by doctors, so they are looking to provide bursaries or scholarships to help those in need of assistance. Chia said: “I am happy to announce that Professor Graeme Wilkinson, Vice-Chancellor of Sunway  University had agreed to offer a RM$10,000 bursary as an inaugural launch of the course. This is in keeping with  Sunway University’s ethos of being a not-for-profit private university. So this is excellent news for both the course and potential candidates and I hope doctors will take advantage of this great opportunity to train ”  said Chia They are also working to incorporate Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points in the course.

Who will benefit
Chia said the course will benefit GPs whose patients fall into the older age categories, or those who are passionate about providing the best care for the geriatric patient group. Furthermore, as the country moves towards an ageing nation, Chia believes that aged care centres and old folks’ homes may require a resident doctor to front the establishment. In such a case, the extra qualification will prove to be priceless.

Currently, new medical officers (MOs) are hired on contract with the Ministry of Health. Chia said taking the initiative by enrolling in a postgraduate diploma course such as this one on geriatric care will stack the odds in the MOs’ favour. After all, she said, this shows great initiative and passion for medicine. On the same note, completing the postgraduate diploma course may improve the chances of MOs being selected for a Master of Medicine (MMed) and other professional courses. “The entry requirement and selection criteria for these courses become more competitive as the years go by, and possessing a postgraduate diploma such as this may very well skew the odds in their favour,” said Chia.   

Finally, the benefits of self-improvement will outweigh other benefits gained, said Chia. The knowledge gained from the course will translate to better standard of care for older adult patients, and better patient satisfaction.

Further information on the postgraduate diploma course can be obtained directly from shms@sunway.edu.my or from Sunway University’s website www.university.sunway.edu.my

Ed: Professor Chia has updated MIMS Doctor about the fee. The total fee is RM24,7000, which includes the refundable RM1,000. With a bursary of RM10,000 plus the refund of the deposit, the entire course will only cost RM13,700.

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