Some 70,000 quacks with bogus medical degrees are said to be endangering lives across the country. But the recent news of a fake doctors’ recruitment scam at the District Headquarters Hospital in Rawalpindi raises new concerns about the infiltration of such charlatans into our public healthcare institutions. Several senior health officials have already been arrested for the hiring of at least four people — three of them brothers — whose medical certificates were found to be bogus. One was taken on by the hospital as a neurosurgeon no less. While all those found guilty ought to be prosecuted and punished, more comprehensive preventative measures are also in order.
For starters, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council could ask all public and private hospitals in the Rawalpindi-Islamabad area to send a list of their doctors for verification. The PMDC needs to introduce a multi-tiered checking and monitoring system which should include routine degree verification in all hospitals. Fake doctors are either not registered with the PMDC or hold phoney registration certificates, and as such unqualified doctors can be weeded out without harassing genuine practitioners. Hospitals which fail to verify credentials with the PMDC before hiring new doctors should be appropriately penalised. Detecting fake doctors requires diligent regulation as well as public awareness and prompt reporting by medical professionals who are suspicious of a colleague’s credentials.
Not many people perhaps know that the PMDC’s website allows the general public to check if their doctors are registered with the council and are thus licensed to practise medicine. The PMDC and the health authorities should encourage the general public, through advertisements and posters, to be involved in exposing fake doctors in this manner. After all it is the public that will benefit most, in terms of safer healthcare, by the eradication of bogus physicians.
Source : Dawn