Abolition of PMDC causes unrest among doctors in Peshawar

Updated 28 Oct 2019

Email

The representatives of medical community have expressed concerns over the abolition of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and demanded cancellation of Pakistan Medical Commission Ordinance, 2019 that caused unrest among the doctors.
— AFP/File
The representatives of medical community have expressed concerns over the abolition of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and demanded cancellation of Pakistan Medical Commission Ordinance, 2019 that caused unrest among the doctors. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The representatives of medical community have expressed concerns over the abolition of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and demanded cancellation of Pakistan Medical Commission Ordinance, 2019 that caused unrest among the doctors.

However, the architects of the new law said that it was meant to streamline medical education and practice through incorporating a fair, free and transparent mechanism.

Talking to Dawn, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (Pima) chief Prof Afzal Mian demanded immediate cancellation of the ordinance, opening of PMDC office and restoration of its functions to bring respite to the medical and dental students and under-training doctors.

Architects of new law say it is meant to streamline medical education

Last week, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated an ordinance to replace Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) with Pakistan Medial Commission (PMC).

The architects of the law argue that the restructuring has been started in a way that even if everyone in the new setup at all levels is a crook of the highest order, he should not be able to do corruption as damage being restricted and bound by a system that is so robust, so devolved with clear-cut demarcation of responsibilities, with no discretionary powers with any individual or even group.

“Similarly, automation and computerisation will lead to transparency enabling applicants to apply, pay and track their applications online with no repeated trips to Islamabad to grease a series of palms,” sources in PMC said.

They said that emphasis would be on quality of staff and efficient service delivery rather than accommodating blue-eyed boys of various power corridors and giving them a free hand to make merry plus outrageously exorbitant monetary benefits at the taxpayers’ expense.

The salaries of 222 employees of PMC have been raised up to 232 per cent to give them economic relief and make them work with devotion.

“The allowances of which institution are more than 200 per cent of basic pay and where does a private secretary get Rs600,000 pay or a stenographer gets Rs320,000 or a driver gets Rs150,000 or Naib Qasids get around Rs100,000,” questioned sources.

But Pakistan Medical Association and Pima said that the ordinance was promulgated in hasty manner and nomination of the seven out of its nine members by the prime minister would adversely impact medical education and patients’ care.

“Formerly, the members were elected through elections held in democratic manner,” said Pima central president Prof Afzal Mian.

He said that despite the experience of professional bodies, none was on board and handpicked nominations were unlikely to ensure merit and accountability. The planned US model of licensing exam at end of education was against the prevalent conditions, he said.

“The ordinance is fraught with contradictions, regarding standards of accreditation and their implementation which will have serious impacts on medical education. The association, which has 60,000 registered members, is concerned over the dismissal of the employees with single stroke of pen according to the new law,” said Prof Afzal.

He conceded that PMDC was not free of corruption, nepotism and bribery and its functioning was painstakingly slow but rather than the sudden dissolution, a fair process was required to differentiate the culprits from the innocents.

The government should announce fresh elections immediately as per 1962 PMDC Act, amended in 2012, to inculcate fresh representatives elected by the doctors, he said.

Prof Afzal said that government should give opportunities to public and private universities, including the same criteria for admission and entrance test besides regulation of the fee structure of the private medical colleges to make it within the reach of the middle class.

“We demand cancellation of the proposed licensing exam for local graduates before starting house jobs and improving standards of medical education to produce better graduates,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2019