A Bill that provides dignity to Allied and Healthcare Professions

Parliament has passed the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021. The Bill seeks to regulate and standardize the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals. The bill necessitates the need to implement new ways of deploying health workers and strengthening the workforce by task-shifting models

Fulfilling pending demands of healthcare sector

The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2020 was introduced in Rajya Sabha by Union Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, on September 15, 2020. This bill passed from Rajya Sabha on March 16, 2021, and recently passed from Lok Sabha on March 24, 2021. This bill will fulfil the pending demands of the healthcare sector and will also enhance employment opportunities. The legislation will provide necessary impetus in providing affordable healthcare to the people

Allied and healthcare professions include a wide-range of health professionals for the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic diseases. The Allied and healthcare professions also work to optimize patient outcomes and attend to overall prevention, promotion, wellness and management of diseases. Allied and healthcare professions that are mentioned in the Bill include professionals working in life sciences, trauma and burn care, surgical and anaesthesia related technology, physiotherapists, and nutrition science.

Setting up a National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions

The Bill seeks to set up a National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions for regulation and maintenance of standards of education and services, assessment of institutions, maintenance of a Central Register and State Register of healthcare professionals.The Commission will consist of the Chairperson,Vice-Chairperson,five members representing various Departments/ Ministries of the central government, one representative from the Directorate General of Health Services,three Deputy Directors or Medical Superintendents appointed on a rotational basis from amongst medical institutions including the AIIMS, Delhi and AIIPMR, Mumbai, and 12 part-time members representing State Councils.

Functions of National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions

The Commission will frame policies and standards for regulating education and practice. It will also create and maintain an online Central Register of all registered professionals. Apart from this, It will provide basic standards of education, courses, curriculum, staff qualifications, examination, training, maximum fee payable for various categories, and a uniform entrance and exit examination.

The Commission will constitute a Professional Council for every recognised category of allied and healthcare professions to frame policies and standards for the governance of allied and healthcare related education and professional services and to regulate their professional conduct.

The health workforce in the Indian scenario has been defined with focus mainly on few cadres such as doctors, nurses and frontline workers. Many other professionals continue to remain under-utilised and unregulated in the health system. This Bill has accorded due recognition and dignity to many healthcare workers who are presently being termed as ‘Allied and Healthcare Professionals’.

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