Following protests and criticism by politicians and the medical fraternity, the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) has taken some important decisions, claiming they are in the best interest of the public, students, and health professionals.
For the first time in history, a fund of Rs250 million has been established for deserving students of both public and private sector medical and dental colleges that offers loans and grants.
The Scholarship Fund will be set up as an independent entity, with an independent board under the supervision of the Council.
The Fund will seek further grants from the Federal and Provincial Governments as well as the private sector.
Annually, the Fund will provide scholarships to students on a need basis who have obtained admission to Public or Private Medical Colleges strictly on merit.
The financial aid will be in the form of grants and loans or a mix of both. In the future, the Scholarship Fund, based on grants, will also look to fund deserving students for Post-Graduate studies and research in medical education.
One-time permission has been given to foreign students to start house jobs.
Information regarding specialization of doctors will be publicly available and free community service as penalty has been introduced.
Earlier, the commission divided foreign medical and dental colleges into different categories and it was decided that the students of the B category would not be allowed to start house jobs in Pakistan unless the students got the permission or license from countries from where they had graduated.
In December, students had held a number of protests outside the PMC office in this regard.
Since a number of health practitioners falsely claim that they have specializations in different fields, the PMC has decided to launch the Higher Specialist Register to avoid chances of such false claims.
Information regarding specialist qualifications of health practitioners will be available on a website.
It has also been decided that the Council will not tolerate practicing without a valid license and have introduced severe penalties, including cancelation or suspension of licenses.
Furthermore, penalties for a minor violation of rules will also include free-of-cost service in the public sector and low-income regions.
The PMC will also introduce a Fully Automated Online Application System next month via which medical graduates and licensed practitioners will be able to apply online for licenses, and addition of qualification without having to visit any PMC office or bank.