ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has decided to re-inspect medical colleges and push them to remove all deficiencies. Colleges will be closed if they fail to do so, and fees will be returned to students using the college’s security fund available with the council.

The decision was taken by the PMDC management after a surprise visit to a medical college in Chak Shahzad, on the outskirts of the capital.

A PMDC team on Saturday visited the Hazrat Bari Sarkar Medical and Dental College Islamabad, and was surprised to see the inadequacies in its facilities and its general condition.

It was then decided that the college would be re-inspected, and that a member of last year’s inspection team would be included in the new team to inspect the college.

The college was registered by the PMDC’s caretaker management, which is mandated to hold council elections and look after its day to day affairs. The caretaker management team left the council on January 16, after the establishment of the new management committee.

According to a college notification available with Dawn, the college was registered on Dec 25 2015, and was allowed to impart training to 100 MBBS students per year for a degree awarded by the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad.

PMDC president Prof Dr Shabir Lahri told Dawn that the surprise visit was prompted by numerous complaints about the college. He said it was possible that the complaints were lodged by rivals.

“We received complaints that the college management had introduced three different criteria for admissions, rather than following PMDC’s directions, which emphasise merit. According to the complaints, a Rs1 million donation was demanded from students and there was a separate merit list for students who paid their fees in US dollars,” he said.

“According to merit, the first 100 students on the merit list should be admitted. But there was a complaint that a criterion was made where, a candidate who came in at 101 on the merit list would be admitted if the candidate donated more than a student who had appeared on top of the merit list,” he explained.

Dr Lahri said he was surprised by the condition the college was in. “The building was not made for medical purposes, and there was no proper place to have medical departments.”

He said when he pointed out that there needed to be arrangements for various departments, a building official said other college buildings were also violating regulations.

“I have ordered the re-inspection of the building and decided that one member of the old team that inspected and cleared the building will be included in the new team. Old team members will be held responsible if it’s proven that they passed the building against the merit,” he said.

Dr Lahri said he also paid a visit to the college’s teaching hospital, which was in better condition.

“I have decided to call the students and their parents to ask if they made any donations. The college administration will be instructed to return the donations if it is proven that donations were received,” he said.

In response to a question, the PMDC president said the council will direct the college to return students’ fees if it fails to improve on its deficiencies. “If management fails to return the fees, the council will pay it using the security amount deposited by the college administration,” he added.

Dr Lahri said surprise visits to medical colleges across the countries would be conducted.

An official statement issued by PMDC confirmed that surprise inspections of colleges recognised by PMDC – and colleges that are going to be recognised – would be conducted.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2016