Private medical colleges restrained from new enrolments

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) directed on Saturday the provincial health department and other authorities concerned to submit details regarding admissions to private medical colleges and availability of treatment and healthcare facilities at public hospitals across the province.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, a three-judge bench sought such details while hearing two suo motu cases regarding the exorbitant fee charged by private medical colleges and poor conditions at public hospitals in the province at the SC’s Karachi Registry.

The top court restrained the management of private medical colleges from enrolling new students and the ad-hoc body of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council from granting affiliations to any new medical college till further orders.

The CJP told them to strictly comply with these orders and cautioned that action will be taken against those found responsible for non-compliance. The court told the health secretary to ensure that all the medical superintendents of public hospitals submit their affidavits, along with reports regarding availability of doctors, paramedical staff, functional and non-functional equipment and machinery, funds allocations and expenditures within a week.

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It also asked the management of private medical colleges to submit their reports regarding number of students, fee, availability of facilities and affiliation with hospitals.

During the proceedings, Dr Usman, an official of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), pointed out that the hospital was Asia’s largest public health facility but it was facing administrative problems following its devolution to the provincial government under the 18th Amendment.

He informed the judges that a case challenging such devolution of the JPMC, the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) was pending disposal for the last seven years, due to which they were facing problems relating to hiring of staff among a host of other issues.

The facility treats 7,000 patients daily and administrative issues are adding to problems.

Justice Nisar remarked that a number of private medical colleges had been set-up in Punjab and Sindh, which had their own systems and were being awarded degrees by reputed institutes without any check.

Expressing his dismay over the educational standards, he quoted a senior doctor as saying that most of the young medical graduates did not even know how to use a thermometer.

The bench decided to club the matter regarding hospitals’ devolution in Sindh along with an identical case in Punjab.

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