ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) on Wednesday decided to conduct the National Licencing Examination (NLE) for local students in October and November through their respective degree awarding institutions under the PMC.

The percentage to clear the examination which is conducted in two phases – Step 1 and Step 2 – has also been reduced from 70pc to 50pc; however, these changes will not be applied in retrospect. It may be noted here that the NLE is mandatory for all medical graduates to start clinical practice.

The NLE Step 1 exam will be held in the last week of October whereas the Step 2 exam will be conducted in the last week of November for foreign graduates. The council decided that the basic postgraduate degrees of the doctors shall be registered with the PMC. However, foreign medical and dental postgraduate qualifications shall be scrutinised and registered with PMC after due process.

Meanwhile, it also decided to conduct the MDCAT on Nov 13 or Nov 20. It added that the examination will be conducted across the country on the same day.

The PMC said the MDCAT exam for foreign students will be conducted only in Saudi Arabia and the UAE due to the maximum number of students in these countries. According to the PMC, other countries had a very low number of students due to which it was not possible to make centres there. The students residing in countries other than UAE and Saudi Arabia can sit in the exam in Pakistan or the two mentioned locations.

In Pakistan, Bolan University of Medical and Health Sciences, Balochistan; University of Health Sciences Lahore, Punjab; Khyber Medical University Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Dow University of Health Sciences Karachi, Sindh; Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University Islamabad, ICT, AJK, and Gilgit-Baltistan, will conduct the exam.

It was decided that the passing percentage for MBBS would be 55pc and for BDS, it would be 45pc. The council relaxed the percentage to help students get admission to the Pakistani medical colleges, as last year almost 20,000 students went abroad for studies resulting in financial losses for the medical sector.

It was decided that in the colleges with the National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS), MDCAT would be conducted separately.

PMC President Prof Dr Noushad A. Shaikh claimed that the commission had been accepted as eligible for World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) accreditation. He added that a task force committee had been constituted to look after the affairs related to the WFME.

The council unanimously decided to renew the doctors’ registration certificates from two years to five years and those doctors who were 60 years and above would need to pay 50pc of the total fee to renew their registration certificate.

It was decided that regional offices in Karachi, Muzaffarabad, and Gilgit will be established at the earliest to facilitate the general public and doctors.

Standing Committee on NHS

The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, while discussing the issues of foreign medical graduates, expressed annoyance and questioned why foreign graduates were not given house jobs in Pakistan.

The committee, chaired by Senator Humayun Mohmand, suggested that the PMC should arrange house jobs for foreign graduates. The PMC representative said that students, who graduated after 2020, will have to appear in the NLE to qualify for practice in Pakistan.

During the meeting, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, and Senator Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan said that they wanted to move amendments to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Bill 2022, but their suggestions were rejected since the bill could not be amended after its passage by the committee and further amendments could only be done by the upper house.

A bill concerning ‘Prime University of Nursing Sciences Technology Islamabad, 2022’ was deferred owing to the absence of the Higher Education Commission officials.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2022

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