The Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC), Islamabad, the nation’s highest regulatory body and registration authority for medical and dental education, has been shaken by a situation involving norms and regulations being broken.
The currently available evidence indicates that the PMDC has recently registered several postgraduate medical and dental qualifications that were never acknowledged or registered under the council’s statutes.
President PMDC Dr. Rizwan Taj took serious notice of the situation and formed an investigating committee including computer programmer Irfan Mahmood and the officer in charge of the postgraduate department, Khalid Shabbir.
The committee has reported its conclusions and suggestions to the council president, who will take the appropriate legal measures.
The investigation report claims that personnel at PMDC unlawfully registered MPhil (Hematology) and MSc (Endodontics) degrees from Khyber Medical University Peshawar and Riphah International University Islamabad, respectively.
The investigation report shockingly discloses that these degrees were registered by the licensing staff under the signature of Acting Registrar Dr. Azhar Shah without completing all necessary legal requirements, including receiving clearance from the PMDC, the relevant authority.
These degrees were suddenly removed from the PMDC database when the authorities learned about the issue of unauthorized registrations; once more, no proper process was followed or the authority’s consent was obtained.
The acting registrar has now written to the doctors, whose postgraduate degrees are unlawfully registered, requesting that they submit the original certificate.
However, the doctors are unwilling to relinquish the PMDC certificate.
Medical professionals state that this investigation has brought to light significant problems and worries about the security and safety of the PMDC national database of doctors as well as its registration system.
Based on the results of the probe, the PMDC president has ordered the establishment of a robust system to ensure the registration of medical and dental degrees and has started disciplinary action against the “concerned staff.”
Two licensing assistants and a web developer/IT officer have received show-cause notices for termination from employment in this regard.
Well-placed sources claim that senior authorities’ approval is required for unrecognized degrees to be registered with the PMDC.
But as scapegoats, only minor officers and bureaucrats are being sued; thus far, no senior officer has been adequately scrutinized in this matter.
A spokesman for the PMDC, Hina Shaukat, estimates that about 1,000 postgraduate degrees have been registered.
The registration department assistant accidentally registered two qualifications, which were canceled on the third day with full notification from the institute and the certificates were taken off from the internet.
Following an internal investigation and inquiry, the PMDC president was able to determine that the two workers in question had simply made a staff error. As a result, they were moved from the affected section.