Bandar Seri Begawan - The Ministry of Health (MoH) through the Postgraduate Advisory and Training Board (PGATB) has embarked on a landmark project entitled the 'Brunei Darussalam Curriculum Development Project' to develop a national curriculum for doctors and dentists that aims to address their training needs, ethics and regulation as well as continuing professional development.
The PGATB is chaired by Dr Hjh Rahmah binti Hj Md Said, the Deputy Permanent -Secretary (Professional & Technical) at MoH and aims to define and enhance the standards of postgraduate training, develop and oversee structured postgraduate medical education, evaluate overseas training programmes and provide guidance to doctors and dentists in training.
From July 1 to 4, the PGATB organised a series of workshops aimed at building the skill base needed for writing the curriculum and developing material on assessment, communication, collaboration, ethics and values.
These workshops have been led by twos consultants from the United Kingdom, Professor Simon Frostick, Chair of Orthopaedics at Liverpool University- and David Pitts, Senior Educational Advisor with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
This was done in collaboration with a Faculty from the Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam namely: Dk Dr Hjh Siti Nur'Ashikin Pg DP Hj Tengah, Consultant Neurologist and Co-Secretary of PGATB; Dr Liew Yin Ping, Consultant Nephrologist and Co-Secretary of PGATB; Dr Jackson Tan, Consultant Nephrologist and Assessment Lead; Dr Alice Yong Consultant Endocrinologist and interim Co-Chair Medical Health Research Ethics Committee; and Dr Ang Sik Kim Consultant Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine and Communication Lead; to clearly define a curriculum tailor-made for Brunei rather than one that has simply been adapted from other countries.
The MoH stated that for Bruneian doctors, there are pros and cons of training in other countries. It can be difficult to secure a training position and spend time away from family and home. Overseas training in countries such as the United Kingdom provides valuable experience but distance themselves from the culture and needs of the Bruneian population.
The MoH in a statement has said that they are already seeing benefits from the projects. As part of the curriculum project, the MoH has enhanced the training skills of the MOH consultants in medicine, surgery, public health and dentistry to name a few through 'Training the Trainers' programmes, laying foundations through communication skills workshops and developing the collaboration skills of potential curriculum contributors as they test the feasibility of the curriculum template through writers' seminars and workshops.
It is hoped that the project will provide a more comprehensive structure to 'Basic Specialist Training' of young Bruneian doctors, inculcating an ethos of -patient-centred care underpinned by a sense of pride and patriotism as a Bruneian doctor.
One of the consultants supporting the project, Professor Simon Frostick, Chair of Orthopaedics at Liverpool University, said, -We have been at the leading edge of developing curricula for training programmes in the UK. We are delighted to have the opportunity to share the benefits of our experience with colleagues in Brunei. We hope that our collaboration will enable Brunei to avoid some of the problems and sidestep some of the costs we have suffered in developing the first surgical curriculum."
Dk Dr Hjh Siti Nur'Ashikin Pg DP Hj Tengah, one of the project's leaders, said, "We have been absolutely delighted with the results we have seen from the efforts of our clinical colleagues representing all specialties at this week's workshops. Insya Allah we can, with continuing support from the ministry, make rapid progress in this area. We are the first country in the Asean region to attempt to produce such a curriculum and we look forward to sharing our learning with others."