Tag Archives: PMDC

Streamlining PMDC: Ministry, regulatory body agree on terms of reference

ISLAMABAD: 

The long tussle between the federal health and the top medical regulatory body has finally come to an end after both agreed to form a reforms committee to streamline the functioning of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).

PMDC President Prof Dr Masood Hameed and Vice President Dr Syed Muhammad Awais at a meeting with Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar on Thursday agreed to establish a reforms’ committee to streamline procedures and functioning of the PMDC, said a press release issued here.

It was agreed that the terms of reference (ToR) in this connection will be developed. During the meeting, it was also discussed to find ways and means to improve the quality of medical education besides resolving issues being faced by medical students and graduates. The meeting also discussed the issue of moratorium on opening of new medical colleges and matters relating to registration of foreign students.

There was a consensus that educational audits were needed to be conducted to improve quality of medical education in the country.

The minister said that quality medical education was critical to provision of quality health services to the masses and no compromise should be made in this regard.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2015.


Becoming a doctor: PMDC restrained from issuing order against recognising JSMU

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday restrained the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) from issuing a final order against recognising the Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU) till January 14.

The bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, issued notices to the provincial health secretary and PMDC to file comments in this regard by the next date of hearing.

The university management has challenged the council’s de-recognition notice in court.

The registrar, Muhammad Irfan Ashraf, said that their university was affiliated with Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD). He added that their aim was to impart better practical and technical education to students.

The petitioner said that after the 18th Amendment when the three major public sector health facilities – JPMC, NICH and NICVD – were devolved, their staff challenged the devolution in the high court, and were granted a temporary stay order.

He added that as the staff was still waiting for the court’s final decision, the university’s management had not been able to appoint, dismiss or transfer anyone for the last two years due to the stay order.

Ashraf told the judges that due to the operating stay orders, the university was facing a shortage of teaching staff. He said that the PMDC had recently issued a notice to the management threatening to not recognise the medical varsity as it did not have a proper faculty.

The petitioner argued that since the university management could not meet the staff shortage due to the court’s initial stay order, PMDC should be stopped from de-recognising the medical varsity.

The judges issued notices to the health secretary and PMDC to file their comments for January 14. Till then, they were restrained from issuing a final order in connection with de-recognition proceeding.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2014.


Medical students’ woes: Senators seek action against PMDC officials

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel has recommended action against officials of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for putting careers of hundreds of medical graduates at stake.

The Council has refused to recognise their degrees they have acquired from seven medical universities in China.

The call came after representatives of the students presented their case before the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat seeking solace for the agony they have been going through.

The council has asked them to appear in the National Examination Board (NEB) test to get certificate for practice.

The students said that at the time of admission they were assured by the Council that they will not have to appear in any exam for registration with the Council.

“The hectic procedure of appearing in the NEB test requires a minimum of one-and-a-half year time to get through,” said Naqash, a medical graduate.

According to a report presented before the Senate committee headed by its Chairperson Kalsoom Parveen, the PMDC gave recognition to seven Chinese medical universities after inspection of the institutes by a team during its visit to the country in 2009. The Council also advertised their names.

The PMDC through a notification on July 22, 2009 announced that the students graduating from the recognised Chinese institutes will be given registration on their arrival and will not be required to appear in any exams.

On April 3, 2011, the Council denotified the seven medical institutes. However, it was mentioned that all the students who had been enrolled before the date of de-notification, will not be required to appear in any exam to get the provisional registration for medical practitioner certificate.

But in October 2012, the PMDC issued another notification stating that all the medical students enrolled in medicals universities in China will have to appear in exam, no matter whether they took admissions after or before cancellation of their recognition.

The students also produced no-objection certificates (NOCs) before the panel they had obtained from the PMDC prior to getting admissions to the medical universities. In the NOC it has been mentioned that they will not be required to appear in any exam for their registration.

Documents were also presented before the panel showing that the PMDC had issued registration certificates to some of the graduates during February 2013 without asking them to appear in any exams.

The medical graduates said that they have already spent six years to acquire their medical degrees from China and it will take one more year if they appear in a test.

Senator Talha Mehmood observed that the case should be referred to the Federal Investigation Agency for probe as there was evidence that the PMDC issued registration certificates to some of the students on a “pick and choose basis”.

Legal battle

The students informed the panel about the legal battle they fought in the past.

In October 2013, Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Shoukat Siddiqui gave relief to the students directing the PMDC to issue RMP certificates to them. The PMDC moved the Supreme Court against the IHC verdict.

According to the students, the apex court served a contempt notice on the Council after its counsel remained absent from hearing. The apex court referred the matter back to the high court.

According to the students, an adverse verdict was given by another IHC judge, as according to them, the judge had been part of the legal team of the Council before he was inducted into the judiciary.

The students further said in the IHC, the PMDC contended that the notification to recognise Chinese universities was issued by the then Council’s registrar in his personal capacity.

“Let’s not further frustrate the future of Pakistan,” Senator Mushahidullah Khan remarked.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2014.


Brain drain: For quality assurance, PMDC bars opening of new medical colleges

ISLAMABAD: 

Due to the acute shortage of teaching faculty in dental health institutes, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) on Friday extended a moratorium on the establishment of new private dental colleges across the country for further two years.

At the same time, the council also barred 14 medical and dental colleges from accepting new admissions as they had failed to meet the criteria set by the PMDC of having a functional hospital attached with at least 150 beds, and also issued warnings to 72 medical and dental colleges that have faculty deficiencies.

PMDC Deputy Registrar Dr Shaista Faisal told The Express Tribune that a bar on the establishment of private medical and dental colleges had been in place for the last three years and now, considering the acute shortage of qualified teachers, the PMDC has decided to extend it for another two years.

“This would help maintain standards at existing private medical and dental colleges which are already facing acute faculty shortages, which ultimately causes students to suffer,” she said.

There are currently 128 medical and dental colleges functioning in Pakistan with nearly 10,846 faculty members, but the shortage is estimated to be 4,343 teachers, according to data collected by the PMDC.

“Every year, an average nearly 150 to 200 new students are enrolled in these medical and dental colleges. It has become difficult to provide them with the required teaching staff. Opening more colleges means increasing the strength of students with the same limited number of teachers,” she said.

Responding to a question, Dr Faisal said the main reason behind the faculty shortage is that Pakistan lack education institutes offering postgraduate degrees in dentistry, which is a requirement to teach. Secondly, a large number of people that do complete postgraduate studies in the field move abroad for better paying jobs, she said.

Licence renewals

Meanwhile, PMDC President Prof Dr Masood Hameed said the council has renewed the registration of 101,802 medical practitioners and 9,614 dental practitioners, while some 9,000 letters have been written to doctors having invalid registrations for validation of their registration certificates, he said in a press statement issued here on Friday.

The statement adds that the PMDC Standing Recognition Committee has considered and registered more than 80 doctors who obtained postgraduate qualifications from abroad. Some of their registration cases had been pending for the last three years, he said.

Moreover, for the first time, PMDC has relaxed the recognition fee for postgraduate programs so that the process can be sped up.

Prof Masood further said that the council has ensured high standards as till 2012, only four new dental colleges were recognised while now and has done approximately 100 comprehensive and surprise Inspections of undergraduate and postgraduate institutions 2013 to 2014 in order to upgrade the standards of the colleges with the result closure has been recommended to the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination for five 5 medical colleges.

No qualified teachers, no problem

While condemning the PMDC’s decision, Senator Kulsoom Parveen, the chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat, said it was “shocking news” and that the PMDC would deprive hundreds of students of the opportunity to become doctors.

“A shortage of faculty does not mean that PMDC should ban the establishment of new medical and dental colleges in the country. Instead, the Council should make efforts to overcome the faculty shortage,” she told The Express Tribune.

Parveen further said that the pace at which the population of the country is increasing meant there is a need to increase the number of hospitals, and for that, more doctors would be required. She said this need could only be met if youngsters had the chance to get degrees from these medical and dental colleges.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2014.


Oversight issues: PMDC says five QAU degrees not recognised

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has declared five post graduate programmes offered by Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) ‘unrecognised’.

PMDC has issued public notices in newspapers warning parents and students against seeking admission in QAU’s MPhil programmes in biochemistry, molecular biology, productive physiology and microbiology, along with the MD programme in general medicine. All these programmes, the notice said, have not been recognised by the regulatory body.

PMDC Registrar Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood told The Express Tribune that QAU never invited PMDC to inspect the post graduate programmes and facilities, which is a requirement under Section 16 of the PMDC Ordinance and subsequent amendments in 2012.

“QAU is not a medical university, therefore it should invite PMDC to inspect these post graduate programmes so that they are officially notified by the federal government,” he said.

He said the council only recognises post graduate programmes that are being offered by or in affiliation with Al-Shifa Eye Trust and Health Services Academy (HSA).

He asked the parents and the students to only apply for programmes that are recognised by the medical regulator.

QAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Eatzaz Ahmad, however, said these were research programmes and the PMDC had nothing to do with them. “QAU is not awarding any medical degrees to students enrolled in these programmes. These are research programmes and do not require recognition from the PMDC”, he said.

Ahmad said that the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences was affiliated with QAU until the teaching hospital was granted medical university status in its own right.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2014.


Power clique uses PMDC to gain monopoly over medical education

KARACHI: 

Succumbing to the demands of a power clique that took over the country’s prime regulatory body of medical education – the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) – last year, the Karachi University’s (KU) vice-chancellor Dr Muhammad Qaiser has announced admissions to the university’s ‘medical college’ that has yet to see the light of day.

The vice-chancellor made the announcement in reaction to the PMDC’s tactics of pressing the university to secede from its 13 affiliated medical and dental colleges since it does not have a constituent medical or dental college of its own.

Ironic as it may seem, the PMDC’s controversial caretakers are conspiring against the university that has been awarding medicine degrees since its inception in 1951 and thousands of healthcare professionals in the country feel privileged of having their names attached to the institution.

Incidentally, Prof Dr Masood Hameed Khan, who as a result of an unlawful election, was elected unopposed as the PMDC president, has a legal proviso in the PMDC (Amendment) Act, 2012, to cite in justification of the controversial move.  It is, however, no coincidence that Dr Khan got the hang of this proviso around two years after the passage of the amendment when his cronies are toiling to establish the Sindh PMDC to have absolute control over the medical education and healthcare profession in Sindh.

On the pretext of ‘provincial autonomy’, the provincial government’s plans, orchestrated by a private sector group, are afoot in this direction. It is only fitting then that Prof Dr Syed Tipu Sultan, elected councillor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan, equates the PMDC’s devolution to introducing the province to a new level of deterioration in medical education and profession.

The amendment in the PMDC Ordinance of 1962 has changed the very definition of the Pakistani universities that are now to be recognised by the PMDC, and thus eligible to grant affiliation to the medical and dental colleges. The universities having a medical or dental faculty, including the Karachi University, that were earlier recognised under the actual PMDC Ordinance for granting medical qualifications will now have to have a “constituent medical or dental college”.

In contrast, the Act of the Parliament through which the KU was established, affirms its prerogative to grant affiliation to medical and dental colleges since a faculty of medicine as well as a board of studies have been a constituent part of the university under the same Act. Here, the two laws are in conflict with each other and only adjudication by the superior judiciary can help remove the anomaly.

In relation to these developments, the KU administration has miserably failed on two counts. It did not challenge the contentious amendment when it was tabled in the National Assembly at the behest of some groups with vested interests in the PMDC. Secondly, the university, if it inevitably had to, did not take timely measures to establish a ‘constituent medical college’ of its own.

But educationists and healthcare professionals do realise the ridiculousness of the demand that prestigious public-sector universities that do have functional medicine faculties should also own a medical college in order to affiliate other medical colleges. They criticise the groups with vested interests in the PMDC of having mala fide intentions to create a monopoly on medical education and the healthcare profession. This appears true as the 13 medical and dental colleges, affiliated with the Karachi University, have been directed by the PMDC’s current custodians to affiliate with a university that has its own hospital and medical college. Admittedly, the move will also transfer the millions of rupees of annual revenue from the cash-strapped KU to the intended institutions.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2014.


Checking quackery : PMDC to move against unapproved colleges

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has warned of action against unapproved medical and dental colleges operating in various cities.

The council says all doctors are required to display their PMDC registration certificate prominently at the place of practice.

The registered medical or dental practitioners having only basic medical or dental qualification are not authorised to carry out specialised procedures.

According to PMDC officials, only doctors with additional medical or dental postgraduate qualifications will be authorised to practice as specialists in their respective fields.

They said PMDC will conduct surprise inspections to check implementation of its orders, adding that these measures have been taken in order to check quackery.

They said in future all doctors with postgraduate degrees will have to mention so in their PMDC registration certificates along with their degree awarding and training institutes.

Officials said all postgraduate students will have to provide a transcript of their training in order to ensure they have professional knowledge of the specialty and requisite skills to carry out procedures.

The council will also issue a licence for practicing medicine for which all doctors will have to avail mandatory credit hours of Continuous Medical Education (CME) to stay updated with the new medical technologies and innovations.

Doctors using unregistered degrees or additional qualification of any specialty with their names which are not registered with PMDC will be dealt with strict disciplinary action.

PMDC officials said all registered medical and dental practitioners have been advised to adhere to the regulations.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2014.


Coercive action: SHC restrains PMDC from acting against JPMC chiefs

KARACHI: 

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has restrained the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) authorities from taking any ‘coercive’ action against Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC)’s joint executive director Dr Seemin Jamali and executive director Prof Tasnim Ahsan.

Headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar, the bench also issued notice to the PMDC president, the provincial health secretary and the Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU) vice-chancellor to file comments.

The petitioners, Dr Jamali and Prof Ahsan, had challenged in the court the show-cause notices served on them by the PMDC management on September 27. They said that notices directed them to appear before PMDC’s disciplinary committee to explain why strict disciplinary action may not be initiated against them for not cooperating with the PMDC’s team during inspection of facilities at the JSMU. They were accused of creating hurdles in the performance of the statutory duty by the PMDC team.

The petitioners argued that the JPMC is not affiliated with the university or its constituent hospital but they are being asked to facilitate the inspection team in carrying out their function, adding that the notices were served to them a day before the inspections.

They alleged that the PMDC team had carried out inspection on September 25 in disregard of the related laws. The show-cause notice is unconstitutional and based on mala fide intention of the respondents who want to remove the petitioners from their posts illegally, the lawyer alleged, pleading the court to suspend the same.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2014.


Procedural delay: Medical college students demand PMDC recognition

DERA GHAZI KHAN: 

Dozens of students of Ghazi Khan Medical College on Tuesday staged a protest demonstration against the delay in the registration of the institute with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).

The students boycotted classes and took out a rally from the college to the commissioner’s office.

The protesters said that classes had started at the college in 2010, but it had not been recognised yet. “Our careers are in jeopardy as the PMDC has yet to recognise the college,” said Muneeb Abbas, a student. He said that the college was also short of staff.

“Most senior teachers have been transferred,” another student, Muhammad Shiraz said.

The Express Tribune has learnt that Dr Ghulam Mustafa (professor of surgery), Dr Muhammad Aslam (professor of ENT), Dr Samina (professor of pharmacology), Dr Lubna (professor of gynecology), Dr Altaf Qadir (associate professor), Dr Shaukat Hussain (associate professor of surgery), Dr Nasir Gopang (assistant professor of medicine) and Dr Muhammad Ishaq (assistant professor of surgery) have been transferred from the college within the last six months.

There are only two professors (anatomy and bio-chemistry) still teaching at the college.

Demonstrators are teaching in place of professors and assistant professors in forensic and pharmacology departments.

Bilal Afzal, another protesting student, said that the government had set up medical colleges in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sahiwal.

“All the new medical colleges, except ours, have been recognised by the PMDC,” he said.

The protesters appealed to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take notice of the delay in the registration of the college. They also demanded that the college be affiliated with the University of Health Sciences and not the Ghazi University.

Some Young Doctors Association leaders also participated in the protest.

Ghazi Khan Medical College Principal Dr Shamim Hassan told The Express Tribune that the college had met all the conditions set by the PMDC for registration.

“Our registration was going to be approved by the PMDC when its governing body was dissolved three months ago,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2014.


New admissions policy: 50:50 ratio for men and women in medical colleges, says PMDC

HYDERABAD: 

The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council’s (PMDC) new admission policy, based on the gender-parity quota, has confused the medical universities in the midst of the admission process.

The policy is also said to be in violation of a Supreme Court judgment, which ordered merit-based admissions. The PMDC’s September 18 letter, addressed to the health secretaries of the four provinces and the federal government, has notified that a 50 per cent quota must be followed for each of the genders. All medical colleges and universities in the public and private sectors have been asked to comply with the directives in their 2014-2015 admissions.

“The council … has considered the growing trend of females in the medical education and their decreasing sustainability in the medical field,” reads the letter, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune. “The number of seats for male and female students should be 50 per cent each.”

However, the policy seems to have not gone down well with the universities, such as Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS), which received the letter on Thursday. The university has already announced admissions and the process of submitting admission forms will be completed by September 30. The entry test is scheduled for October 19.  “The decision to this effect was taken at the council’s meeting in February but we were intimated about it today [Thursday],” said vice-chancellor Dr Noshad Shaikh, referring to the 137th meeting of the PMDC, which was held on February 4 this year.

He complained about the PMDC’s lack of coordination with the provincial and federal governments, also citing the council’s bad governance. “They have issued these directives when the admissions are already underway. The timing is wrong. And then, we have been asked to implement it from this very session.”

He told The Express Tribune that the university will not take any decision individually as they will wait for the Sindh government’s directives. Meanwhile, LUMHS will continue its existing admissions policy, he added. He also sought a policy review from the PMDC.

The university offers 375 seats, including 263 on merit for the 12 districts of Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas divisions and Benazirabad district, according to deputy registrar Dr Saroop Bhatia.

Meanwhile, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) in Karachi has yet to receive this notification. The institution has not received the PMDC letter to allocate 50 per cent of the admission seats each for the males and females, said DUHS pro-vice-chancellor Dr Muhammad Umar Farooq, adding that he cannot comment on the matter.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2014.