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The government is planning to set up an umbrella council for regulating “the professional conduct” of healthcare staffers, including those working in allied fields.
The Allied and Healthcare Professionals Central Council (AHPCC) Bill 2015 has provisions for setting up a body that will maintain a register of all such professionals.
According to the draft Bill, AHPCC will “regulate the professional conduct of allied and healthcare staff by specifying the standards of professional conduct, code of ethics and etiquette to be observed by staffers of each cadre as prescribed under the Rules by the Central Government; create and maintain a national live register as prescribed in the Rules; Prescribe the minimum standards of education, courses, curricula, physical and instructional facilities, staff pattern, staff qualifications, quality instructions, assessment, examination, training, research, continuing professional education…”
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It will also provide for a uniform entry examination for allied and healthcare educational institutions at the graduate, postgraduate and doctoral level.
The proposed council may have a different name, but its umbrella nature and roles are similar to that of the proposed National Commission for Human Resources in Health, mooted by the UPA. NCHRH was given a quiet burial after it was rejected by the Parliamentary standing committee for health and family welfare.
The principal objection against NCHRH was that it sought to disband existing councils. Taking that into account, the new plan aims to incorporate members of these councils into its decision-making process.
The council will have representation from the Medical Council of India, Indian Nursing Council, Pharmacy Council of India, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Rehabilitation Council of India, National Board of Examination, NIOS/IGNOU and the UGC, besides ex-officio members from the central and state governments. The draft Bill is ready and the ministry has invited stakeholder comments.
The proposed law requires states to set up their own state councils. In states where a paramedical council already exists, it will be subsumed under the Act and be restructured/renamed as the State Allied and Healthcare Professionals Council.