off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Preserving independence
and need for reforms
in the CPSP 


College of Physicians & Surgeons of Pakistan is the only medical institution in the country which enjoys international recognition and over the years has successfully preserved its independence for which credit goes to its successive leadership. Fellows of CPSP have foiled numerous conspiracies in the past to destroy this institution and they seem to be determined to defeat the nefarious designs of some vested interests in the medical profession at all cost which is indeed commendable. However, this does not mean that all is well in this institution, in fact some reforms are long overdue and the CPSP leadership will be well advised to initiate appropriate measures in this regard.

Firstly at present there exists no forum where the fellows if they have any complaint against the President of CPSP or its councilors can go for the redress of their grievances with the result that at time some of them then go to the Courts which is not at all desirable and should be avoided at all costs. This problem can be easily solved by having a four to five member Board of Trustees comprising of senior fellows, former Presidents of CPSP who are known for their professional and intellectual integrity. They should neither be eligible to contest elections nor should they be seen campaigning in favour of any particular group or individual during the elections. The terms of reference for the working of this Board of Trustees can be worked out and it can prove to be a very useful body to resolve any differences even within the council if need be, besides looking into complaint or grievances of the Fellows if any.

Secondly some system needs to be worked out that after serving two terms of four years as councilors, they should not be eligible to contest again but after a gap of four years or some amendments should be introduced in the byelaws whereby at least 50% of the councilors are replaced every time to ensure induction of fresh blood. This will ensure that the newcomers get experience while working with their senior colleagues and become prepared to shoulder the responsibilities in future.

Thirdly no councilor should be appointed as Regional Director, Controller of Examinations, Director General International Relations and Dean of the Faculty. All these posts should be offered to other Fellows which will ensure that powers are not concentrated in the hands of a few and it will also broaden the support base of the CPSP providing an opportunity to a large number of fellows to be a part of the team and contribute to the progress and development of this institution. Even otherwise concentration of powers in the hands of a few has its own drawbacks and repercussions which is not at all good for the smooth functioning of this institution. In addition while selecting the Dean of the Faculties, it must be ensured that the people selected are professionally mature enough and enjoy good standing, rapport among the members of their respective professional specialty organization. Selection of a very junior person who then tries to dictates to those who have been his seniors, supervisors or  trainers  or have trained a large number of Fellows in that particular specialty has created problems in the past with the result that some have even refused to train postgraduates. Such situations can be easily avoided if those at the helm of affairs keep themselves abreast of feelings within the profession. Efforts should also be made to ensure that the people elected from various regions as Councilors enjoy the support of the majority or at least sizeable support of the Fellows from that particular region. Establishment of Young Fellows Forum to train future leadership as suggested earlier can also pay rich dividends. Similarly selection of fellows other than councilors in delegations going overseas on different assignments including examinations being conducted at overseas centers should be implemented. 

CPSP had done well to initiate a development programme establishing Regional Centers all over the country many years ago which was continued by the successive leadership. These Regional Centers needs to be further strengthened by providing all possible facilities for training and helping the postgraduates in their respective regions. Even examination for FCPS-I has been started in some regional centers while FCPS Part-II exam is also being held at different centers. More centers can be added in future if it is economical, feasible and practical but great care needs to be taken to make sure that these exams are held smoothly without any problem. It should be a matter of great satisfaction for the CPSP that it has never postponed its exam which are planned and held on schedule for the last many years. The CPSP administration also needs to be congratulated having refused to be blackmailed by a group of junior fellows and postgraduates. While offering all possible help and assistance to facilitate their training, the CPSP administration is reported to have refused to compromise on merit as regards standard of the examination which is very objective and transparent.

It is a natural phenomenon that in the absence of any effective opposition outside, opposition emerges from within and at times it is quite dangerous and not good for the institution or organization. Difference of opinion is not a bad thing as long as it is constructive and the objective is improvement and good of the institution. Even at present all the Councilors of CPSP does not seem to be on the same page on certain issues. This issue needs to be looked into and their reservations resolved. All those who have a difference of opinion are not always enemies and all those who opt to become ”Yes Men”  cannot be considered to be friends and well wishes of the institution.  One should always remember that an intelligent enemy is far better than foolish friends. Constructive and positive criticism should always be welcome and the track record of the present CPSP leadership and administration is much better than the previous administrations in this regard. People come and go but the institutions remain and every effort should be made to further develop and strengthen the institutions and no one should ever consider himself indispensible. Those who get an opportunity to serve in the CPSP Council for eight years should be grateful to the Fellows and also thank their stars.  Instead of lingering on, they should be prepared to make room for others. It is always better to play one’s innings gracefully and leave with honour and respect. One does not have to be a Councilor or occupy any other coveted position in the administration to make some contribution.

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