PMC issues fact-sheet on medical education reforms

Published April 20, 2021
The fact-sheet states that since the establishment of the PMC in September last year, it took a number of initiatives. — AFP/File
The fact-sheet states that since the establishment of the PMC in September last year, it took a number of initiatives. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: After facing criticism from the medical fraternity and students, the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) issued a fact-sheet, detailing a number of reforms it had undertaken for the betterment of medical education and transparency.

Moreover, during the last eight months, 43,198 licences were renewed, 6,685 new licences issued to doctors and dentists, 1,986 applications for registration of Postgraduate Clinical Qualification were processed, 3,876 foreign medical students were granted a provisional licence to practice and 1,699 foreign medical students were granted a full licence to practice in Pakistan.

The fact-sheet states that since the establishment of the PMC in September last year, it took a number of initiatives like declaring the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) mandatory and introducing National Licensing Examination (NLE), which was compulsory for getting licence to practice in Pakistan.

NA body asks opposition members to propose amendments to MTI bill

It also claimed that a centralised admission policy had been introduced and steps taken to ensure students were admitted on merit. Private institutions have also been directed to disclose their entire fee structure for the programme prior to admission.

The PMC enhanced 550 seats in the public-sector medical colleges and introduced a policy for foreign medical graduates to get licence to practice in Pakistan. Besides, medical practitioners will have to get their licences re-validated after every five years.

The commission, meanwhile, is launching the first specialist registers in both medicine and dentistry to transparently list and recognise practitioners who had acquired the skills and competency to be recognised as specialists.

In the fact-sheet it is claimed that an online portal has been introduced through which stakeholders can access services. Biometric verification is also being introduced to safeguard a healthcare practitioner’s digital profile and information. The National Medical Scholarship Fund has been established for deserving students with an initial commitment of Rs250 million.

The Ministry of National Health Services spokesperson, Sajid Shah, told Dawn that almost all services of the PMC had been offered online.

“Now people can get themselves registered for MDCAT, National Examination Board, NLE, provisional licence, full licence, letters of good standing, verification of documents,” he said.

Mr Shah said registration of institutions, inducted students, verification of healthcare practitioners and registration of complaints were also being done online.

Amendments to MTI bill

The National Assembly Standing Committee on NHS on Monday suggested opposition members to give their input for the ‘The Federal Medical Teaching Institute Bill 2020’ so that it would sail through the parliament without any hurdle.

The meeting was presided over by MNA Khalid Hussain Magsi and attended by MNAs, Jai Parkash, Fozia Behram. Aliya Hamza Malik, Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema, Dr Nousheen Hamid, Dr Samina Matloob, Dr Darshan, Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani, Ramesh Lal, Dr Shazia Sobia Aslam and Shamsun Nisa.

The committee took up the ‘The Federal Medical Teaching Institute Bill 2020’.

After deliberations the NA body asked opposition members to propose amendments to the bill if any, to avoid lacunas so that they could be considered in the next meeting.

In November 2020, President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated MTI Ordinance under which Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) would be run through board of governors (BoG).

According to the ordinance, the BoG will deal with all affairs of Pims. Members were appointed and notified by the NHS ministry on the recommendation of a search and nomination council.

The committee appreciated the efforts of the PMC to adhere to the reserved quota of 265 seats allocated for erstwhile Fata and Balochistan students in medical and dental colleges.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2021

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