Two Pakistani Medical Degree Programs Get Equivalence in Gulf States

Doctors holding degrees in MS (Doctor of Surgery) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) from Pakistan have been awarded the same status in Gulf states as Fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (FCPS) and Membership of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (MCPS). 

However, in 2017, Saudi Arabia incorrectly categorized these qualifications as research-based, making doctors unable to keep practicing. This is despite knowing that both MS and MD degree holders serve in hospitals to get clinical experience.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia were commended by the Association of University Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (AUPSP) for resolving the matter.

As per Dr. Asad Noor Mirza, General Secretary of AUPSP, the restriction on MS and MD practitioners caused distress to 4,500 doctors in Saudi Arabia as well as in other Gulf states in 2017.

Dr. Mirza went on to say that in 2019, Saudi Arabia authorized MS and MDs to practice but at a lesser level similar to two years of MCPS, despite the fact that these are four-year degrees.

Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director of the HEC, addressed a letter to the Secretary General of the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties on January 23 noting that in Pakistan, MD/MDS/MS/MPhil is equivalent to FCPS. According to the letter, MS/MD/MDS and FCPS, MCPS, and so forth are on the same footing and are evaluated accordingly under the HEC Faculty Appointment Criteria.

The delegation proposed that these clinical degrees be included at the same level as FCPS in Saudi Arabia’s Professional Qualification Requirements. On February 6, the team traveled to Riyadh and met with the Secretary General of the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, where they were assured that MS and MD degrees will be given the same status as FCPS and MCPS.

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