Islamabad, 25 October 2019: Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) has rejected the recently announced Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) ordinance by the government and dissolution of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). In a statement issued on Thursday, PIMA president Prof. Muhammad Afzal Mian considers it an undemocratic hastily taken decision with far reaching negative consequences not only to doctors but to the country.
PIMA stance on this issue is as follows
- An ordinance on an extremely important issue of medical education and its regulation, is brought in force by-passing the parliament in a very hasty manner. This is a total distrust on people of Pakistan.
- Seven out of 9 members of Council are nominated by one person, i.e. the prime minister of Pakistan, as compared to previous democratic elections. This means that representatives of medical community with fair balanced point of view will not be able to reach the decision making forum.
- Despite presence of several professional bodies, no stake holder is taken on board. With handpicked nominations in the first place, who can expect merit and accountability in functions of various sub committees?
- Licensing exam is planned to be taken at the end of education even before house job (which is part of program). This US model will be a disaster for a country where US conditions are not available at all.
- There are contradictions in the same ordinance regarding standards of accreditation and their implementation which will lead to serious effects on the standard of medical education in the country.
- The sudden announcement has shell shocked thousands of medical/dental students and doctors in training who were waiting for their registrations or experience, and put a cloud over their future in the country where such delicate decisions are done in haste.
- Dismissal of all employees of a premier institution with one stroke of pen is totally against justice. No doubt PMDC was not free of corruption, nepotism and bribery and its functioning was at times painstakingly slow. However rather than the sudden dissolution a fair process was required to differentiate the culprits from the innocents. If this is the way inept departments or dealt with virtually no institution will be kept intact as all have serious governance failure.
- It appears that there is just change of name of the same institution with similar functions, which will be run by people nominated by one person, and whose powers and actions, will be above criticism.
We demand the following:
- Immediate cancellation of the ordinance, opening of PMDC office and restoration of it’s functions. This will bring respite to the medical/dental students and doctors in training who are waiting for their progress halted abruptly.
- Govt should strengthen the PMDC and announce fresh elections of the PMDC immediately as per 1962 PMDC act, amended in 2012, to inculcate fresh representatives elected by the doctors community. It should trust the elected representatives and adopt policy of non intervention.
- Ensuring merit and removal of weaknesses of the PMDC by an accountability process. Govt. should involve professional organizations including PMA and PIMA in advisory role.
- PMDC should ensure equal opportunities of the public and the private universities including admission process. Taking one entrance exam for all public and private medical colleges, centrally or provincially, should be ensured. There should be regulation of the fee structure of the private medical colleges to bring it in reach of the middle class especially.
- Cancellation of the proposed licensing exam for local graduates before starting house jobs. Improving standards of medical education should be the aim instead, which will ensure better quality graduates.
In case of no immediate and meaningful action by the government to revert its act, PIMA will join hands with other professional bodies to resist it and will seriously consider legal course.