Islamabad:February 29:Welcoming the long-awaited approval of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council empowerment bill by the National Assembly, the council’s registrar, Dr Nadeem Akbar, has said enactment of the proposed law will improve medical education and practice in the country and thus, bettering overall health system.
“At the moment, private medical and dental colleges have a majority in the council so the bill will help free it from their control and thus, restoring its and the government’s writ,” Dr Akbar told ‘The News’ on Monday.
Tabled by Dr Donya Aziz, of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, almost three years ago, her private member’s bill, seeking amendments to PMDC-1962 for crackdown on unrecognised medical and dental colleges and unregistered practitioners of medicine and dentistry in the country, sail through the National Assembly with consensus of late. Now, it needs the Senate’s consent and the president’s signature for enactment.
In the bill, it is proposed that PMDC be allowed to penalise medical and dental colleges on mismanagement and poor quality of education. Currently, the council has no such powers. According to it, without PMDC recognition, no person will run or establish any institution for training or grant of medical or dental qualifications or house job.
“If the council is not satisfied with the explanation of any such institution, then it can make a recommendation for closure of the institution to the federal government before adjustment of its students in recognised public or private sector institutions,” it said. The bill said holders of a recognised basic medical degree would be registered on provisional basis for internship, foundation or house job of a minimum of one-year in an approved hospital or institution, adding that the one-year internship or house job will be mandatory for conversion of provisional registration into full registration.
The PMDC registrar said the council’s new composition gave equal representation to public and private sectors besides accommodating postgraduate medical institutions that hitherto had no representation in it.
He said the National Assembly and the Senate, too, had been given representation in the council. He said to ensure adequate clinical training of doctors’ new clauses had been added to the ordinance for recognitions of hospitals for house job.
“Public safety has been ensured by empowering the council to conduct examination before issuance of licence to practice to doctors with qualifications from Afghanistan and Central Asian States. The bill focuses on research and continuous professional development of doctors and contains specific empowering sections to this end,” he said.
Dr Akbar said the proposed law laid down strict penalties for establishing and running medical and dental institutions without recognition by the Council. He said under the bill, valid registration of the council would be considered a licence to practice and that only licensed practitioners would be allowed to practice in the country.
“It also proposes penalties for persons falsely claiming or pretending to be registered with the Council. It gives doctors protection against harassment by police and other agencies as professional negligence will initially need to be established before the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Council before any other proceeding can be initiated against them for negligence,” he said.
The PMDC registrar said as the faculty in undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental colleges from all across the country had been given representation in the council, its executive committee had been tasked with conducting nationwide elections to complete the council within a year. He further said the council’s executive committee had already been recognised and bestowed with highest award of excellence by international community on its good work for medical education in Pakistan.
“With the help of this (proposed) law, the council can better govern its affairs and its employees, and take necessary welfare measures for them. We are eagerly awaiting the coming into force of this importation piece of legislation,” he said.The news.