Islamabad - A report revealed that Pakistan Medical & Dental Council has a weak system of assessment for the registration of medical and dental institutions. It disclosed that twelve medical institutions assessed through a flawed process were approved for registration.

To investigate the matter, PMDC constituted a four-member Evaluation Committee comprising Dr Sania Nishtar, Lt Gen Asif Mumtaz Sukhera, Prof. Abdul Bari and Prof Ejaz Hassan Khan.

The report also stated that PM&DC and Ministry of National Health Services Regulations & Coordination (NHSR&C) had no choice but to notify these colleges.

An official informed that the conveners of the inspection committees had defended their decisions before the evaluation committee and passed the institution for notification with provisions to implement the PMDC direction which implies that all formalities must be completed.

Meanwhile the Evaluation viewed in its report that “once the new legal framework is established, these colleges must undergo a re-inspection”.

The committee also noted in its report that investigating the alleged financial embezzlements in the process of registration of the medical institution was beyond its capacity. Relevant authorities’ expert in financial forensics must be engaged for the purpose.

The report said “existing assessment instrument used for inspection (questionnaire) has serious flaws”.

The questionnaires also lack differentiation between critical, mandatory and non-critical assessment parameters.

As per the current parameter, a college has to score an aggregate of 750 out of 1000 marks in order to qualify for registration, while the committee observed that the college scored ‘zero’ on certain crucial parameters, but was considered for registration if it overall qualified 750 marks.

 It is important to identify critically important parameters within the questionnaire, 100percent score on which should be mandatory as a condition to prequalify, regardless of the overall marks.

The committee mentioned the flaws with assessment and recommended structuring of the questionnaire, availability of permanent qualified faculty, free beds for teaching, and online resources, connectivity, and technology tools.

The report also observed that there are gaps in the availability of full time faculty in private and public medical colleges, which have been established in remote areas.

 The committee recommended that the assessment can be supplemented by feedback from students, though a PM&DC established online portal.

The committee also reported that academic and quality-related assessment criteria should be the same for both the public and private sectors.

“In the private sector, the objectives of the assessment should be to demonstrate if the entity aspiring to set up a college has the capacity to invest and the ability to garner the right academic environment whereas the objective in the public sector should be to assess the financial, operational and strategic and prospects of long term sustainability,” said report.