National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill

The future is looking bright for our Physiotherapy Professionals!

The Lok Sabha has passed the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2020, to regulate and standardise the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals in India.

Although physiotherapists, pharmacists, nurses, dentists, and other healthcare professionals are governed by their own regulatory bodies, a proper framework for the establishment and preservation of quality of services and education of allied and healthcare professionals through a National Regulatory Body has been long overdue.

With that being said, by recognizing the specialized expertise and contributions of more than 56 different categories of healthcare professionals, the instant Bill has the ability to establish a paradigm shift in healthcare delivery.

Among the list are Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Ophthalmic Sciences, Nutrition Sciences, Trauma, Burn Care Surgical/ Anesthesia Related Technology, and other allied healthcare careers that will be clubbed into 10 groups.

The bill aims to establish a statutory body or commission that frames policies and standards, regulates professional conduct and qualifications for allied healthcare professionals, besides providing uniformity of service standards across institutions.

Recalling the role played by physiotherapists, paramedics and allied healthcare workers, lab technicians, radiographers, dieticians during the Covid-19 pandemic, this bill is certainly a blessing in disguise for health practitioners who have played a very critical role in the recovery of patients.

The bill further states that to practice physiotherapy in the future, one will need a certificate and identification number, which will make them equally valid and help to deter fraudulent activities.

With the improvement in vacancies in private as well as government sectors as part of the clause, the bill also includes academic licensing through the implementation of rules and regulations for the intake of seats as well as the requirements needed for the establishment of a Physiotherapy College on its own or in conjunction with a university.

This opens doors for students aspiring for a career in Physiotherapy as to the prior situation, when the sun seemed to be shining on this profession only into its initial growth phase. Rehabilitation has certainly reached a bar in this country for now in government sectors, the basic qualification for education will be a Bachelorette degree, or BPT, which will increase our levels of practice and grade pay from 4200 to 4600 and above, as per amendments.

Moreover, the rights to practice independently diagnose, investigate, and analyze in cases relevant to the ailment within the scope of practice are permitted, as specified in the bill’s physiotherapy description. So as to clear the current speculation, physiotherapists will no longer be classified as paramedics, but rather as healthcare practitioners, a distinct stream that should not be confused with paramedics.

That apart, the State Council has also been empowered to give prior permission for establishing a new institution, opening new courses, increasing the admission capacity, or admitting a new batch of students to existing institutions.

This Act is about to bring major implements in healthcare provisions, strengthening the workforce by task-shifting models and improving access to quality services through qualified and competent allied and healthcare professionals.

The government is surely making headway for advancement in the field of medical sciences, to increase educational substandards of learning by checking on regular modes of learning and putting a stop to distance education, as education is just a matter of professionalism. This bill has the ability to bring about significant improvements in healthcare. It is a watershed moment in the wellbeing of allied health practitioners.

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