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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Medical Commission's (PMC) National Medical Authority (NMA) has successfully conducted and concluded the first National Licensing Examination (NLE) across the country.

According to Executive Member of the National Medical Authority Dr. Syed Moin Ali, the NLE Step 1 for medical graduates was held in five centres located in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, and Karachi.

He said that the examination, which is mandated by law, is a prerequisite for medical and dental graduates to attain full licenses to practice in Pakistan.

A total of 1,470 students participated in the NLE Step 1 out of which 1,160 students passed the examination representing a 78.9 % pass percentage.

Dr. Syed Moin Ali congratulated all the qualifying graduates and on becoming the first batch of NLE graduates in Pakistan which represents a milestone and the first step on the road to ensure long-term excellence in the medical profession.

Out of total students, 1,164 were foreign graduates and 306 were Pakistani medical graduates with 903 foreign medical graduates passing representing a pass percentage of 77.6% and 257 Pakistan medical graduates passing and representing a pass percentage of 84 %.

As many as 1593 graduates had registered for the examination and 123 could not appear for different reasons and will be rescheduled to take their exam in December 2021.

The Pakistan medical graduates who passed the NLE Step 1 will now be eligible on completion of their house jobs to apply and receive immediately their full license to practice medicine.

The foreign medical graduates who qualified for the NLE Step 1 are now eligible to appear in the NLE Step 2 (clinical skills) exam scheduled for October 2021. On qualifying the NLE Step 2, they will be eligible for a full license on completion of house job if they are graduate of a list A college or a provisional license if a graduate of a list B or list C college.

The NLE was the first computer-based examination conducted by the National Medical Authority of the PMC. The digital format of the examination is part of PMC's vision to promote transparency and meritocracy while setting international benchmarks of quality, skills and competence.

Students who appeared in the exam appreciated the quality of the exam and the facilities provided with many equating it with their experiences of international computer-based exams.

On the successful conduct of the first NLE, President Dr. Arshad Taq said, "The conduct of the first National Licensing Examination has paved the way for standardization of healthcare delivery in our nation. The NLE is now the standard expected from a healthcare practitioner for a license to practice and be certified as a safe doctor."

He added, "As the healthcare regulator, it is our legal and moral duty towards the 220 million Pakistani people we serve that only safe, skilled and competent doctors become part of the healthcare system. I would like to congratulate and thank the National Medical Authority and our entire team and every person involved in the conduct of the exam for their effort and the tenacity they have shown in successfully implementing the NLE against all odds?"

Meanwhile, in a following up to the meeting with the delegation of medical students with all the members of the Medical and Dental Council which was also attended by Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services, and the Chairman National Medical and Dental Academic Board, the council has announced a special step for those students who graduated before the first NLE but after September 2020.

The special policy to subsidize fees for the upcoming sessions of the NLE will be applicable in case NLE will be held four times a year to ensure students can have the flexibility to schedule their exam and timing and also if required to retake have minimum time lapse between exams. The NLE will be held in December, March, June and September each year.

Similarly, Pakistan medical graduates who failed to qualify for the just concluded August NLE Step 1 will pay a subsidized fee of Rs 3,000 for their first retake anytime between December 2021 and June 2022.

Pakistan medical and dental graduates who register to take the NLE Step 1 scheduled for December 2021 will not be charged a fee. In addition, for the first retake, if required, and if taken in March or June 2022, they will only be charged 25% of the standard exam fee.

Pakistan medical and dental graduates who register to take the NLE Step 1 scheduled for March 2022 will pay a discounted fee at 25% of the standard exam fee. In addition, for the first retake, if required, and if taken in June 2022, they will only be charged 25% of the standard exam fee.

Pakistan medical and dental graduates registering for the NLE Step 1 for June 2022 will pay a discounted fee at 50% of the standard exam fee and will also be given a discount of 50% of the standard exam fee on their first retake.

The NLE is an integral part of the reforms introduced by parliament and the federal government under the PMC Act 2020 to improve and standardize healthcare education in Pakistan in line with global best practices.

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