Tag Archives: PMDC

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


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


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


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


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


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.

DG Health’s qualification: Varsity denies PMDC allegation on fake degree issue


Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology (SUST), Peshawar Campus has denied all allegations leveled by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) regarding the award of a fake Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree to the incumbent Health Ministry director general.

In a press conference held on Thursday, SUST Vice-Chancellor Dr Salimur Rehman said it was true that Health DG Dr Jehanzeb Khan Aurakzai was enrolled in the MPH course at the university, but he still had to clear six papers to complete his degree requirements.

“The university has not awarded him a degree as he still has to appear the papers in which he was marked absent,” Rehman said.

The VC accused PMDC of trying to defame the university due to an ongoing tussle between the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC) and the PMDC over the establishment of the medical regulator’s executive committee by using unfair means.

“To our understanding, PMDC is trying to defame the Health DG who had been asked to probe the controversial constitution of the PMDC Executive Council, by dragging the university into this without having any solid evidence,” Rehman said.

Sharing details, he said that on June 5, Dr Shakeel Ahmed wrote to the Human Rights Cell (HRC) of the Supreme Court alleging that a grade-20 NHRC official was favoured in meeting the requirement of the class attendance and also through arranging special examinations for the courses he failed.

On June 10, the HRC told the university as well as the PMDC to submit their respective reports on the issue by June 30, Rehman said.

“The university received the letter on June 17, while on June 11, the PMDC registrar formed a two-member committee comprising PMDC Deputy Registrar Dr Shaista Faisal and Dr Muhammad Ismail, to probe into the matter,” he said.

Later, the university provided the committee members with all the required documents well on time at its Islamabad and Peshawar campuses, Rehman said.

“However, PMDC Registrar Raja Amjad Mehmood wanted us to say Dr Aurakzai was given a special chance and that he was facilitated in impersonation — something that had never happened. We could in no way admit to it,” he claimed.

Later, Fahad Bin Hasnain, an acting account officer at PMDC, approached the university while claiming to be a member of the committee and asked for Dr Aurakzai’s answer sheets, he added.

“It was strange and shocking to learn that a person who was not a committee member and had no relevance to the issue would be asked to investigate the matter,” said Rehman.

On the other hand, without waiting for the HRC to decide, PMDC directed us to cancel the admission of the Health DG within three days, but our response was that we need to wait for the directives from the HRC,” he said.

Later, Mehmood himself became the chairman of the committee and submitted the findings of the report regarding the award of a degree to the Health DG and declared the university guilty, Rehman said.

Then on July 14, PMDC issued a show cause notice to the university that was later challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) by the university, he said adding the IHC issued reinstatement order on June 28.

“In spite of the stay order dated July 28, on August 4, the PMDC released a frivolous story about award of the fake degree to the Health DG,” he said.

When The Express Tribune contacted PMDC Registrar Mehmood, he said the inquiry was initiated after a complaint was lodged by Dr Shakeel, a classmate of Dr Aurakzai’s who claimed that the latter was given special favour.

“On this, I asked the university to provide us the required documents, however there was huge difference between the documents provided to us by the Islamabad and Peshawar Campuses,” he claimed.

Mehmood denied the allegation that he shared documents with the media and others without waiting for the HRC decision.

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

Enough is enough: YDA announces sit-in against PMDC policies


The Young Doctors’ Association-Punjab has expressed dissatisfaction with the council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) stating that the CPSP lacked a strategy to deal with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) on the issue of doctors’ registration.

Addressing a press conference at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology on Wednesday, YDA leaders said they would file a writ petition against the PMDC and hold a sit-in in front of the PMDC’s Islamabad office after Eid. Dr Amir Bandesha of the YDA said, “We will not end our sit-in until all doctors who have cleared the FCPS/MCPS exams are registered. If necessary, we will spend the Independence Day in front of the PMDC’s office in Islamabad.”

He said hundreds of consultants had cleared the post-graduate training but couldn’t be posted as consultants because the PMDC hadn’t registered them.

He said the PMDC would deny some doctors registration but register others who had strong references even if they were from the same hospitals. The PMDC does not have an executive body and the registrar is not authorised to take policy matters in his own hands, he said.

He said if the PMDC de-recognised an institute for post-graduation then the procedure for inductions should stop. “To de-recognise a training institute, the PMDC has to issue a letter and give six-months to the institution to fix its problems,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.

Senior registrars: PPSC suspends PMDC registration requirement


The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) has agreed, in principle, to conduct interviews of all post graduate doctors who have cleared exams for the Fellow of College of Physicians and Surgeons (FCPS) or Member of College of Physicians and Surgeons (MCPS) and want to apply for the post of senior registrar.

PPSC Chairman’s Representative Shaigan Sharif Malik held a meeting with a delegation of the Young Doctors Association Punjab on Monday and told them that they would allow doctors, who had passed FCPS/MCPS but had not been registered with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, to sit the interviews. However, they would have to submit their PMDC registration number before joining the Health Department. The delegation included YDA president Dr Ajmal Chaudhary, Dr Amir Bandesha and Dr Altamesh.

Dr Shabbir Chaudhry, a member of the YDA delegation, told The Express Tribune that the PPSC had also decided to interview doctors who had been previously rejected because they did not have a PMDC registration number.  “We are thankful that the PPSC has accepted our demands. Several doctors had been rejected for the post over the last few days simply because they hadn’t been registered by the PMDC,” he said.

The Punjab Public Service Commission is currently interviewing doctors for posts of senior registrar. The eligibility criteria for the post include specialisation in the faculty the doctors apply in. As many as 750 consultants who passed their Fellow of College of Physicians and Surgeons (FCPS) exams between 2012 and 2013 were not being considered for the posts because the PMDC had de-recognised the institutes they had trained at.

After the PMDC Act was passed in 2012, the council de-recognised several training institutions of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSP). Those who had completed their training at these institutions were hence not registered by the PMDC.

The PPSC had turned down more than 70 doctors for the interview round because they did not have a PMDC registration number.

An official of the PPSC said that they had decided to facilitate doctors who had passed their specialisation exams and only needed to obtain their registration numbers. “It will be mandatory for them to get their registration numbers before joining the Health Department. We allowed the relaxation after receiving instructions from the Health Department in this regard.”

The YDA had also written to the PPSC chairman on the issue. The letter said that the PMDC registrar had denied registration to FCPS and MCPS graduates because of a bias against doctors in the Punjab. The YDA also alleged nepotism, lawlessness and deterioration of profession in the PMDC elections.

It said that doctors had protested the “illegal tenancy of PMDC Registrar Raja Amjad”. It said that the CPSP council had also refused to be part of Dr Asim Hussain’s “illegal council” and “now they are victimising fellows of the college”.

The letter said that the PMDC was registering FSCPS qualifications whimsically and in violation of law. “Some blue-eyed doctors are being registered while others qualifying from same institute are denied registration.”

The letter says that the PMDC lacks a council and Raja Amjad Mehmood, the register, had no right to deny registration to FCPS diploma holders. “It is unfortunate that substandard degrees obtained from foreign institutes are registered with the PMDC while prestigious local qualifications are being denied the same.”  The letter requested that all doctors holding FCPS /MCPS qualification but lacked registration from PMDC be allowed to appear for interviews and selection on merit. PMDC Registrar Dr Raja Amjad Mahmood denied the allegations and said that he was legally appointed registrar of the council. He said there was no nepotism at the PMDC. “Section 16 of the PMDC Act 2012, empowers the PMDC to inspect medical training institutes in the country. We cancelled the affiliation of several institutes after that and asked them to get themselves re-recognised after PMDC inspection. The CPSP was also ordered by the Supreme Court to get their training institutes re-inspected but they didn’t do so.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2014.