As the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Ordinance is going to lapse on Sept 5, the president and members of the council on Saturday held a press conference to speak about their performances.
They claimed that the matter related to the deregistration of doctors holding doctor of medicine (MD) and master of science (MS) degrees had been taken up with Saudi Arabia, 140 medical colleges inspected, an online system would be introduced by next month to facilitate doctors and students while around 110 cases were disposed of by the disciplinary committee.
On Jan 5, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the PMDC Ordinance 2019 underwhich the 17-member council would deal with issues related to medical colleges, attached hospitals and health professionals.
On March 13, Prof Dr Tariq Iqbal Bhutta was elected as the president and Prof Dr Amer Zaman Khan as the vice president of PMDC for a term of three years.
As the ordinance has to sail through parliament so the `Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Bill 2019` was tabled in the Senate and referred to the standing committee concerned on March 7. However, a majority of the committee members were not in f avour of passing the bill.
Initially, the council members differed with each other and levelled allegations against each other. So far four out of the 17 council members have been denotified by the prime minister and the provincial governments.
The denotified members claimed that they had objected to illegal decisions of some of the influential council members.
Moreover, the registration of one of the council members` honorary degree by the council also reached the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) and the parliamentarians criticisedthe decision.
However, as the ordinance could not sail through parliament the council would dissolve on Sept 5 after which either the government would have to bring a new ordinance or the council would function under the 2012 Act.
Speaking at the news conference, Prof Bhutta said there were a number of issues which were either addressed or the council was in the process of resolving them.
`In the history of PMDC a nationwide inspection of medical and dental public/private colleges has been undertaken through which a clear picture would come up about the standards of our institutions and education. The institutions which will not have the minimum standards will be closed otherwise the standards of MBBS and BDS will lose their international recognition,` he said.
`Currently, there are 168 PMDC recognised medical and dental colleges in the country, including 109 in the private sector.
The closure of two colleges is in the process.
The total number of registered medical and dental practitioners as of June 2019 was 257,657. This included 186,980 general med-ical practitioners, 23,133 general dental practitioners, 45,378 medical, surgical and allied specialists and 2,166 dental and allied specialists. Annually, around 18,000 students are being enrolled in medical and dental colleges in the country,` he said.
`The present council held 10 sessions in a short span of time for early disposal of cases, timely decision-making and framing of regulations, etc. Admission regulations 2018 have been revised and an admission policy for session 2019 -20 has been announced to ensure transparency and merit in the admission process.
`The MD-CAT (entry test) is to be held on Aug 25 and Sept 8 across the country through the admitting universities,` he said.
Dr Bhutta said pending litigation was fast-tracked to remove bottlenecks in the system and allow students and doctors to have their grievances addressed.
Replying a question, he said MS and DS degree holders had practiced in the region for the last 100 years and the imposition of a ban on such doctors had been taken up with Saudi Arabia.