Pakistani doctors will no longer be eligible to work in Saudi Arabia and a few other Arab countries as its MS (Master of Surgery)/MD (Doctor of Medicine) post-graduate programme has been de-recognised in the kingdom. The move is going to affect hundreds of qualified Pakistani doctors and render them jobless. Meanwhile, several of them have been sacked or asked to be ready for deportation, according to a Dawn report on Wednesday.
Following Saudi Arabia's decision, other Arabic countries such as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have also de-recognised Pakistani medical programmes. Most of the affected Pakistani doctors were hired by the Saudi Health Ministry in 2016 when it conducted interviews in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, the report said.
Saudi health ministry reportedly claims that Pakistan's MS/MD programmes do not have structured training programmes, which is a requisite to employ medics for higher positions. The Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS) issued termination letters to several Pakistani doctors and said their applications for professional qualifications hadbeen dismissed as the Pakistani degree was admissible as per the rules, the report added.
"Your application for professional qualification has been rejected. The reason is that your master degree from Pakistan is not acceptable according to the SCFHS regulations," read the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties' (SCFHS) letter. This development is a cause of concern for many senior doctors in Pakistan. One of them told the Pakistani news daily that the local health authorities would discuss the issue with Arab countries.