A commendable initiative by PM&DC regarding CME should be supported but not wasted due to various reasons

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 Observers may indulge in blackmail and corruption

A commendable initiative by PM&DC regarding
CME should be supported but not wasted
due to various reasons

Some of the guidelines need to be modified; Accreditation fee
should be reduced, implementation should be gradual after
ensuring CME programmes by various institutions

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Medical and Dental Council has at last taken a decision regarding Continuing Medical Education and Continuous Professional Development by healthcare professionals to keep themselves abreast of latest developments in their respective fields.  The initiative must be commended and supported but not wasted due to various reasons.  However, the way the PM&DC is trying to get it implemented has raised certain questions and it is feared that it may defeat the very purpose if it was meant to improve the patient care. The accreditation fee should be reduced and it should not give the impression as if the main objective is to collect more money.

The performance of the PM&DC as well as its credibility has remained under news for the last many years. However, every one needs to support such measures which are meant to improve the capacity building of the healthcare professionals thereby improving patient care.  The issue needs to be discussed and   suggestions made to the PM&DC leadership to convince them to modify some of the guidelines particularly related to the observers. It is also in the best interest of PM&DC that it takes all the stake holders in confidence and then decides these issues to ensure that it gets implemented without much problem.

College of Physicians & Surgeons of Pakistan has also started a similar CME Credit hour’s scheme for its Fellows. CPSP definitely enjoys a better credibility as compared to PM&DC. Not only that CPSP has a very democratic set up, holds its elections in a very transparent manner and enjoys international recognition. Hence, first of all both PM&DC and  CPSP should learn to respect each other, help and collaborate with each other and honour the CME credits issued by their  respective institutions on reciprocal basis. Secondly the fee of Fifty Thousand demanded by PM&DC for accrediting medical institutions, professional specialty organizations and associations is too much. It should be reduced. Not only that keeping in view the functioning of the PM&DC it does not have the infrastructure and expertise to monitor CME programmes all over the country. The observers to be sent to observe these CME should be looked after by the PM&DC itself rather than asking the CME organizers to arrange their stay and travel if need be.   These observers may also try to blackmail and indulge in corruption thereby ruining the whole scheme. If a CME programme is being organized in Karachi, the PM&DC can nominate observers from the same city so that there is no need of travel and stay. The same can be followed in all the major cities.

When Prof. Rasheed Jooma was the DG Health, he had organized a workshop to discuss these issues of CME and CPD. It was attended by representatives of all the professional specialty organizations as well. Many issues were discussed in detail and the participants had also given lot of useful, practical suggestions to implement these schemes. It looks it is the continuation of the same efforts but  the way  it is being implemented will lead to lot of opposition and resentment from the medical profession. If you look at point No. 8, 9, & 10 of the Guidelines, they are the same and repetition which only shows how careless the PMDC is. The scheme in itself is good and very much needed but it is essential that it is introduced gradually. To begin with, all the undergraduate, postgraduate medical institutions, professional specialty organizations should be advised to start a CME/CPD programmes with nominal registration fee. They can be provided guidelines on CME credit hours and make sure that no factious certificates are issued. Once these facilities become available all over the country only then  even the GPs practicing in the remote areas can also benefit from it, then it can be made mandatory for renewal of License to Practice by the PM&DC after a couple of years. The CME Credit Hours approved by these institutions, organizations should be honoured for renewal of licenses. Let this commendable initiative not become a victim of flawed implementation strategy which is a hall mark of all good schemes introduced in Pakistan from time to time.