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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services and Regulations on Thursday expressed resentment over the act of seeking advance fees for the whole year by some private medical colleges and directed the ministry concerned and the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to take stern action against such institutions.

The meeting of the committee held under the chairmanship of Senator Dr Muhammad Humayun Mohmand while discussing the matter of advance yearly fee collection by private medical colleges was informed by Senator Prof Dr Mehr Tak Roghani that Jinnah Medical College is demanding advance fees for the whole year from new students which amounts to around Rs1.6 million.

Senator Dr Mohmand questioned that, as of now, the PMDC is being run by interim members and whether or not PMDC is empowered to take such decisions. Responding to the question, the Registrar PMDC told the committee that the said decision was taken by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) not the PMDC.

The chairman committee declared the decision of the PMC absurd and reiterated that the hopes of many parents for their children's bright future could be diminished by such decisions. So, therefore, he advised the ministry to take the matter into consideration.

Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Junejo inquired as to whether the previous records of the complainant were taken into consideration before the pronouncement of the decision. In reply to that, Kamran Rehman stated that no previous record of the candidate is available because the concerned merely joined duty for six months after the regularisation. The chairman committee disposed of the matter while commenting that despite complex medical history there is not any sufficient evidence which can be seen tilted in the favour of the complainant.

While deliberating on the public petition relating to “third party analysis on difficultly level of MDCAT test 2022 conducted by University of Health Sciences (UHS) and Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU),” Dr Suleman, registrar PMDC apprised the committee that the authority maintains a “questions bank” and questions for all sorts of exams are selected from it.

However, the PMDC has received a total of 808 complaints from students for rechecking the examination and a minute anomaly was observed in the marks of only three students and these kinds of anomalies mainly occur due to wrong questions being made part of Question Bank, he added.

The chairman committee expressed satisfaction with the reply of the PMDC and disposed of the matter.

Furthermore, the committee also discussed the appeal submitted by Syed Zulqurnain Kazmi for reinstatement in service. The complainant, Syed Zulqurnain Kazmi, informed the committee that he was appointed on contract basis in 2009 and his services were regularised in 2013 against the post of chief statistical officer.

However, he was diagnosed with brain haemorrhage in 2013 and acquired medical leave for three years and joined back in 2017 for merely six months.

Kamran Rehman, Additional Secretary for NHSRC, apprised the committee that after availing medical leave for three years, the complainant remained absent for around 700 days on different occasions and despite being declared fit by Central Medical Board eventually got dismissed from service in 2021.

While considering the public condition regarding providing exemption to MCPS students for FCPS degree in consonance with other qualifications/degrees, the CPSC officials highlighted the differences in scope and induction into two programs and argued that they were two different programmes. However, the chairman committee recommended CPSC officials to provide relaxation to students of MCPS for FCPS examination.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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