ISLAMABAD           -   Sindh Health Department has expressed reservation with the Federal Health Ministry over fresh MBBS/BDS admission policy by newly established Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), The Nation learnt on Tuesday.

Sindh Minister for Health and Population Welfare Department Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho has written a letter to the Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr. Faisal Sultan and expressed concerns of the provincial government. 

The letter available with The Nation said, “I am writing to you to express my serious reservations regarding Pakistan Medical Commission Act-2020 which was rejected by the Senate of Pakistan earlier and declared null and void by the Islamabad High Court, but the same was legislated by the Parliament in its joint session in the face of a boycott by all opposition parties representing smaller provinces.”

The provincial minister in the letter said that PMC Act,2020 has raised many contradictions like medical and dental council have no provincial representative whereas health purely a devolved provincial subject after the 18th Amendment. 

The letter said that as per Section 18(20), “No student shall be awarded a medical or dental degree in Pakistan who has not passed the MDCAT prior to obtaining admission in a medical or dental college in Pakistan; provided that such requirements shall be mandatory for all students who will be enrolled in medical or dental undergraduate programmes in the year 2021 and thereafter.” It is thus, clear that the same policy condition cannot be implemented for the admissions in year 2020-21 which are already in process before the enactment of PMC Act 2020.

The letter said that PMC is yet to become functional, but  its recent steps like stopping universities from conducting medical and dental colleges admission test and suspending the National Examination Board (NEB) exam have left many in the health profession in a dilemma. 

It further said that under this act, MDCAT exam for students joining medical universities and colleges will be designed by the federal government based on the federal curriculum. It may be noted that each province has its own boards and its own curriculum. It may be noted that each province has its own boards and its own curriculum; this will put students appearing from the provinces at a disadvantage.

“PMC Act will be a disaster for smaller provinces as it allows private sector medical colleges and universities to admit students irrespective of their domiciled province. In Sindh approximately 5000 doctors graduate out every year. These numbers still not enough for the Sindh province. 2500 doctors graduates from public sector universities which will be allowed to observe the provincial domicile policy however a large number approximately 2700 doctors graduate through our private institutions under this legislation, most of the seats in Sindh in the private sector will be filled by the students from Punjab, these doctors on graduating will obviously return to serve in their province a shortage of doctors in Sindh,” said the letter by Sindh health minister.

It said that in centralized entry test registration, the parents will have to spend tens of thousands of rupees to buy prospectus from a number of colleges and pay processing fee. It is unfortunate that the medical fraternity has been suffering due to discontinuation of PMDC that is why all doctors across Pakistan had demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to restore PMDC. 

According to the new policy passing marks of MDCAT shall be 60% and admission to all public or private colleges including all government notified quota seats shall be subject to mandatorily having passed the MDCAT exam.