KARACHI – We need a strong, autonomous, independent and powerful Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) with membership of not more than 35 people who can work for the benefit of profession.

PMDC president Dr Sibtul Hassan, the members of Executive Committee and the registrar PMDC should not be allowed to recognise any new medical college in Pakistan without the formation of PMDC. These views were expressed by Dr Shershah Syed, ex-member PMDC, while addressing a press conference at the Press Club here the other day.

He said that doctors’ community is extremely concerned about the mushroom growth of so-called medical universities and new medical colleges in government and private sector. The higher Education Commission has no control on this unfortunate growth of universities, he said.

“On July 12, after suspension of rules, MNA Yasmin Rehman presented an amended bill regarding PMDC in the parliament which was not in the agenda and the bill was passed without discussion. The original bill was sent back with recommendations which were not included in the bill except the inclusion of CPSP in the Council. Last week, the bill was signed by the President of Pakistan resulting in dissolution of PMDC. It is disturbing to note that the parliament has given all the powers to a six-member executive committee for one year (Dr Sibtul Hassan, Dr Asim Hussain, Dr Masood Hameed, Dr Naveed Rashid, Dr Manzoor Hussain and Dr Zubair Ahmed).

This bill is not acceptable as it will only help the owners of private medical colleges and their vested interest groups who are using the government institutes for their benefit. This bill will empower Dr Sibtul Hassan and his registrar to give registration to new colleges and increase the seats in existing medical colleges. It is totally not understandable that why the President PMDC needs this kind of power. The PMDC has already recognised more than 130 medical and dental colleges without fulfilling the basic criteria of PMDC in private and public sector.

Some of these colleges have no affiliated hospitals and many of them have no faculty members and infrastructure to run medical colleges. They all are charging enormous fee and donations. All these universities are part time institutes where Vice Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, Professors, other faculty members and even research scholars are working on part time basis. Recently the medical universities have started post graduate programs aiming to distribute MS, MD and M-Phil degree in different specialties in an environment where merit is not a criterion. This kind of programme will produce half cooked, half baked specialists who will be dangerous for patients and communities,” he said.

It is high time that the government formed a high power Commission on Medical education to audit the activities of Medical Universities and Medical Colleges in the Country, he said, adding that the government should be able to justify the investment of billions in this sector which has not change the standard of medical education and care of patients.

“The Executive Committee should complete the procedure for the formation of new Medical Council within three months by holding election for the members in all provinces of Pakistan. All appointments in PMDC should be done transparently and strictly on merit. All faculty members from Vice Chancellor to Professor and faculty members should be appointed on full time basis. No part time faculty members involved in private practice should be allowed to work as faculty members in medical colleges. All postgraduate trainings should have a structured programme with required faculty, facilities and resource material. We hope that all political parties of Pakistan and their leadership will give importance to the health of nation, medical education and medical training programme in Pakistan and include the issue of PMDC and medical universities in their election manifesto,” he proposed.