PMC bill and NLE: A reform we really need?

By Dr Sandhiya Salim

President Dr Arif Alvi recently passed Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) bill. As per the new PMC bill, students graduating after clearing the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Dental Surgery will have to give the National licensing exam (NLE). In the past, this requirement applied only to foreign graduates, but after March 2020, all graduates, both local and international, will be required to meet this obligation.

That is to say, the exam shall be conducted twice a year, and it will be mandatory to pass the exam to obtain a provincial and a full license. However, candidates can give as many attempts they want and there are no limits.

Quality vs Quantity

Earlier, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) used to be the regulating body to authorize license and registrations. But such sudden change in the system and announcement of a new governing body infuriated many students and practitioners who were concerned many things other than just appearing in a supplementary exam. 

PMC or PMDC 2.0?

Amidst the PMC fiasco are many applicants who are still waiting to get their permanent registration certificates but have been delayed due to the new PMC bill. For example, some fresh graduates are waiting to get their provisional license to start their house job. Similarly, faculty members and postgraduates are exasperated by all this hovering for not getting their registrations done on time. This is affecting their exam and job timelines.

Although the medical and dental practitioners in the country perceive this new decision as an added financial and mental stress. In other words the idea behind this drill is to eliminate malpractice and promote safe and healthy medical practices among hospitals with more proficient and honest doctors who are committed to and do justice to the profession.

Is there any possible way out?

On the other hand, the same goals are also achievable by refining the initial entry test procedure by enforcing stricter rules and modifying the syllabus. A candidate’s efficiency and capability to enter the medical field can be identified. Moreover, if the system allows, there shouldn’t be a need for a supplementary exam to determine the ability and skill set for the doctors who have already worked so hard over so many years with so much dedication and are about to enter into the practical world. Instead, we can help the young doctors finish their skills further to gain more exposure and experience that is required to face challenges in the present day. With new developments and increasing health issues, we can offer courses and hands-on workshops. This will enable them to become competent and aware of the challenges we face in the medical world.

-The author is a contributing writer at Dental News and can be reached at

October 6, 2020

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “PMC bill and NLE: A reform we really need?”

  1. Huma says:

    As a medical student, I agree with the alternate solutions mentioned in this article to increase qualified doctors and quality health care. Very well articulated.

  2. Suraiya Hirani says:

    Nice to see someone talking about everything.

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