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Event Title: Senator Muhammad Hamayun Mohmand, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-07-27

Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination met on Thursday under the chairmanship of Senator Dr Muhammad Humayun Mohmand here at the Parliament House to discuss various important agendas. While briefing by the PMDC on MDCAT it was decided that the examination will be held on 27th August 2023, Senator Rubina Khalid requested for 15 days extension whereas Senator Bharamand Khan Tangi said that the date should not be extended so after due deliberation it  was decided that the examination to be held at 27th August 2023. It was also decided to keep the syllabus of the exams same as last year to facilitate the candidates it was also briefed that the council directed all the provincial secretaries to prepare for the exams as per act, the MDCAT will be conducted at a provincial level. This decision was taken in the larger interest of the students. It was briefed that last year almost 204259 candidates’ appeared in the examination. According to estimates almost 21000 to 225000 candidates are to appear this year, making the system more transparent and merit based, as public sector universities from all four provinces and ICT will again test the exams as per curriculum approved by PMDC. It was briefed that as per the comparative analysis the MDCAT 2021 candidates has passing percentage of 65 pc with the validity of 2 years as mentioned, however in 2022 the PMC council at that time modified the percentage and the validity of the result, and reduced the passing percentage from 65 per cent to 55 per cent for MBBS and 45 pc for BDS. Due to this reduction in the passing percentage , the validity  the exam results was also modified to only one year which was categorically mentioned on the individual result of the candidates. It was briefed that according to the new act, the validity of exam was changed to 3 years with the passing percentage now same as last year 55 pc MBBS 50 pc BDS. It was briefed that as per law no action in the act is applicable to retrospectively, so no changes can be made in the validity of the 2022, result. It was therefore apprised that the candidates of 2022 will have to re-apply for this year’s exams in order to qualify for admission into the session 2023, 24.    

The committee members objected on the reduction in the passing criteria and remarked that if the passing criteria is reduced to just 55 pc (MBBS) and 45 pc BDS for medical students then we are bringing down the standard and quality of the field of medical sciences in the country and lamented this reduction.  The ministry informed that it received thousands of application at provincial level to bring down the passing criteria and also said that many seats remained vacant and in order to fill the vacant seats the criteria was brought down. It was also apprised that the fine charged on the Medical Students due to delayed release of scholarships was also removed and he scholarships were also granted.

The committee inquired detail on the present status of the directions issues by the committee regarding repatriation of Mrs Yasmeen Azad, Assistant Registrar Pakistan Nursing Council to her Parent Department (FGSH Polyclinic). The committee was apprised by the officials that the Pakistan Nursing Council was informed on 7-05-2022 regarding retention of services of ms. Yasmin Azad as assistant registrar BS 17 on account of acute shortage  of officers and her valuable involvement  in multiple nursing projections of national and international level. The secretary, National health Services said the PMC has strong Bureaucratic   structure he further apprised the committee that special secretary extended the deputation period of Ms Yasmin without the approval of the competent authority. He said that a pre meeting on the case of Yasmin was conducted however he said that he need further time to order an inquiry into the matter and submit report. The chairman committee reiterated that even after the recommendation of the committee to hold any further extension of Ms. Yasmin was repatriated. The committee also recommended the removal orders of Ms Fauzia Mustaq Registrar PNC the secretary health said that Ms Fauzia Mustaq was already removed by him however she managed to resume back her position into the department. The committee deferred the matter for detailed report and inquiry, it was also decided that the matter will be followed up by the subcommittee convened by Senator Rubina Khalid and will be taken up in the main committee on submission of the final report. The committee also took assurance from the secretary that the composition of the new council will not constitute of the same members, which the chairman committee referred as “gang” and regretted the PNC mafia playing with the lives of the people.

The committee while discussing the Audit report of the Federal Government Polyclinic Islamabad was informed by the representative of the Poly Clinic that in the audit report 8 paras’ are non-defendable and inquiries on the same have been sent to the Ministry on which a high powered committee has been constituted to probe into the inquiries, therefore seek deferment. It was briefed that accordingly to the audit report loss occurred due to procurement of medicines on higher rates – Rps. 53.605, million. It was also observed in the Audit report that the management paid irregular Health Allowance to deputationist from Provinces – Rs 4.082 million. According to the Audit report it was also observed that out of 325 doctors 213 posted in the hospital were working and practicing without either having Invalid registration or no registration. The committee was also informed that all the civil works of the Polyclinic was given to Pak PWD as it is the only authority to execute that civil works and infrastructure of the Government organization.

The committee also took briefing on the present status of recruitment of over 178 experts and supporting staff for integrated disease Surveillance and Response System (IDSRS) project initiated by National Institute of Health (NIH). It was briefed that 45 candidates have joined their duties in NIH, however the minutes of the meeting of recruitment committee and approval of appointing authority for the posts of PPS -06 and below of PHLN and FELTP components is under process in the Ministry of NHSR&C and offer of appointments would hopefully be issued on coming week. It was also briefed that 29 interviews have been completed and 74 will be interviewed next week. The committee also sought briefing on the IDSR project of the National Institute of Health, Islamabad 

The meeting was attended by Senator, Prof Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Senator Rubina Khalid, and Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi. Senior officials from the ministry and other concerned departments were also in attendance.