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ISLAMABAD: Documents tabled in a parliamentary committee have revealed that a number of doctors working at government hospitals have not renewed their licences with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for decades.

Doctors who are practicing with expired licences are deputed at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), Polyclinic, the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM) and the Federal Government Hospital.

PMDC Director Admin Arshad Nawaz told the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) on Wednesday that doctors who have not renewed their licences are not authorised to practice.

The council has demanded Rs2,000 for the verification of each case from the Ministry of NHS and asked for copies of doctors’ registration certificates as well.

According to the documents, available with Dawn, Dr Amir Maqbool’s licence expired in 1995, Dr Azizur Rehman Bangash’s expired in 2000 and Dr Shahid Mehmood Kazi’s has not been renewed since 2006.

Dr Shaista Habibullah and Dr Tasleem Malah’s licences have not been renewed since 2009, while Dr Ahmad Rizwan’s expired in 2012, Dr Zulfiqar Ghouri’s expired in 2013 and Dr Sajil Abdul Wahid and Dr Wasiqa Hanif’s expired in 2014.

Dr Anser Maxood’s licence expired in 2017, as did Dr Sadia Nazir, Dr Imranur Rehman and Dr Madiha Saba’s. Dr Farrukh Kamal and Dr Akhtar Ali Bandasha’s licences expired last year.

Dr Ghouri, who is a member of the medical board constituted for Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, told Dawn he had renewed his licence five times before he stopped.

“Although I should have renewed it, I could not because of laziness. Doctors at government hospitals just don’t take it seriously because they know they don’t have to apply for new jobs, since renewed licences are required at the time of appointment,” he said.

“The PMDC has said that the licences were not renewed, but that does not mean our degrees are fake. We will get the licence renewed soon,” he added.

A senior doctor who requested anonymity said that if a doctor’s patient dies, the death is considered an accident. But if the doctor’s licence is expired, he said, the accident is considered murder with a severe punishment.

“It is similar to if a person drives a car without a licence and kills a person on the road,” he said.

Pims Joint Executive Dr Ijaz Qadeer told Dawn doctors were responsible for renewing their licences.

He said: “In the past we used to check the status of the licence at the time of appointment and promotion. However, as the matter has now been highlighted in the parliamentary committee, we will write to them that they should renew their licenses if they want to continue their practice and job,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019