Foreign graduate skills exam passing scores will not be reduced: watchdog

Islamabad The medical and dental education regulator has refused to lower passing scores in the competency exam taken by foreign graduates for compulsory registration, insisting that accepting an application to do so is tantamount to refusing patients with treatment by “safe” doctors.

“The National Medical and Dental Academic Board said at a meeting that the National Licensure Examination Skills Examination represents the mandatory basic skills for patient handling and management in the absence of which patients will be exposed to serious risk. Accordingly, it is imperative that graduates be able to demonstrate at least 70% of the core skills and competencies fundamental to ensuring patient safety. Lowering the standard will deprive patients of their basic right to be treated by a safe doctor,” an official from the Pakistan Medical Commission told a meeting here.

Foreign medical graduates had demanded a reduction in NLE-II passing scores from 70% to 50% and even protested outside the PMC premises.

According to the official, board members felt that the majority of international graduates receive an education in countries where English is not the spoken language, so there were serious concerns about the clinical training that they suffered in the absence of being able to communicate in the room. language with doctors, hospital medical staff and patients or knowledge of medical terms commonly referred to in the local language.

They decided that the lack of clinical training and book teaching was a serious concern and therefore the NLE exam, especially the skills exam (NLE-II), was essential to ensure and certify that foreign graduates have the skills and competencies to be safe. doctors.

Board members reviewed pass scores for international licensing exams held in different countries and found that they were above 70% before announcing that there was no justification for lowering the NLE pass percentage -II of 70.

They insisted that the aim of the NLE was to test the skills, knowledge and skills of a graduate to ensure that he was a safe doctor, as he would be granted a license to treat patients from independently.

The board also decided to carry out further analysis of the issue to see if it is justified to reduce NLE passing scores in the future.