PMDC has been dissolved, unfortunately
Pakistan Medical and Dental Council just got dissolved. This statement alone is enough to send the collective brains of all medical and dental students of Pakistan into meltdown. This Sunday, the offices of PMDC were taken over by the police on the order of the Ministry of National Health Services.
The PMDC was dissolved but before that it was one of the few governing bodies left in Pakistan regulating private institutions.
The body came under existence after Pakistan Medical & Dental Council Ordinance 1962 and has been active since then. It oversees all the medical and dental institutions of Pakistan, maintaining a standard by due inspection and regulation, along with registration of graduating and practicing doctors and issuing them licenses.
The PMDC also controlled the opening of new private medical colleges. Because of this, many were shut down in the past that were sub-standard. It also set a limit for the fees a private university could accept from its students, along with teaching and examination criteria for the affiliated hospitals.
But now that PMDC has been dissolved so suddenly leaving things uncertain
Due to an ordinance passed by President Arif Alvi, the PMDC has been dissolved and a new body by the name of Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), a nine-member body. It has not been revealed who the new members or the president are.
This sudden announcement and closure of the PMDC offices sent shockwaves through the whole medical and dental fraternity. Even the registrar and employees of PMDC were unaware of any such decision being taken
The ordinance for PMDC being dissolved was rejected by the Senate
The interesting thing to note is that a similar ordinance was passed in January and rejected seven weeks back by the Senate through a majority vote. The Government withdrew the ordinance, and according to the Media Coordinator of the Ministry of National Health Services a new one was written which was passed by the president, bypassing the parliament and without consultation of any public or private sector professionals.
After PMDC was dissolved, it has been replaced by what is called the Pakistan Medical Commission. So who makes the new PMC?
The new commission will comprise of nine members, including,
- Three members each from the civil society and those with a medical background, one with the dental background, all having 20 or more years of experience in their respective fields.
- A surgeon general from armed forces’ medical services.
- The president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP).
How does the PMC function and WTF is the NLE?
The PMC will start operations in a week but it is yet to come to light what their mission is or how extensive their power is. But according to the ordinance, this new body will operate for three years as a “corporate institution” and will have a separate secretariat called the National Medical Authority Commission.
Many new rules of the PMC are being discussed on social media, one notable being the “NLE” or the National Licensing Exam which has caused an immediate uproar among medical students. Reportedly, this exam will be compulsory for all medical graduates after completion of their five years of medical education in order to obtain a medical license.
What the actual f**k?
Now doctors will have to pass another exam? NLE
All exams are for doctors only? This new commission made by the govt is absurd. Seriously @ImranKhanPTI you have left us with no choice but to leave Pakistan. I am gonna leave soon. Enough! pic.twitter.com/h5ivUrH64Y
— Dr Ayesha (@Dr_AyeshaNavid) October 21, 2019
Another interesting thing to note is that according to some documents doing rounds on social media, students studying in institutions of Pakistan Armed Forces will be exempted from the NLE exam!
I don't get it. I really don't. Why is there special mitigation for Armed Forces Cadets when it comes to NLE?
Are we children of a lesser God, Mister Prime Minister? #SayNoToNLE pic.twitter.com/PS6NjnjCxx
— Dalrymple (@allthoseblues) October 22, 2019
Open market for private institutions?
One of the major functions of PMDC was to keep private medical and dental colleges in check, controlling how much fees they could charge their middle-class students, how they could hold examinations and what university they could affiliate with. Will all this go unregulated now, giving free rein to these medical colleges?
According to a news website, an unknown source was cited stating the below:
If this statement is true, it could change the whole way private medical colleges operate in Pakistan, placing a lot of burden on the students of these institutions and the parents alike.
The Pakisan Medical Association and students have called for rejection of the PMDC being dissolved
The PMA has called upon political parties to reject the new ordinance. Their secretary has stated that if the need for a new and updated ordinance arose, the government should have passed it through the parliament instead of bypassing the opposition and bringing the ordinance into force.
Medical and Dental students have also been raising their voice against this sudden change, signing petitions online and planning sit-ins and protests.
Goverment of Pakistan: Pakistan Medical Students Reject National License Examination (N.L.E) – Sign the Petition! #NLEhttps://t.co/DJLmOLzUIU via @Change
— Mubarak Sarki (@MubarakSarki) October 22, 2019
Since the dissolution of PMDC, protest is on from last 2 days, and tomorrow senators and senior doctors to join the protest to condemn it and will address press conference#PMDC pic.twitter.com/t1fxqo27xC
— fozia Chaudary (@Journlist4peace) October 22, 2019
What do you think of this new development? Do you agree or disagree with the government’s decision?
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Cover image via: urdupoint.com / @Wazeer_e_Azam via Twitter