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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Lok Sabha clears healthcare professionals Bill, minister says will give due dignity to allied health workers

Vardhan pointed out that with the registration, and standardisation of professions, the Bill would ensure generation of more employment.

Written by Esha Roy , Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi |
March 25, 2021 2:29:28 am
Dr Harsh Vardhan: One doctor for 854 patients, which I think is very good. (PTI)

The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professionals Bill was passed unanimously by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The Bill has passed by Rajya Sabha last week.

Replying to the discussion on the Bill, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “The biggest backbone of our healthcare delivery system are our allied workers. The question of giving the allied worker dignity has now been addressed through the Bill and it has been long overdue. During Covid times, they had a huge contribution, but while people spoke of the work done by doctors and nurses, sanitation workers and security personnel – not many spoke of the allied workers.”

He said, “Whether it testing or CT Scans, respiratory assessments, neuroscience technologists, social workers or palliative care workers – this Bill brings a paradigm shift and change in health care delivery system with the registration of all these workers.”

Vardhan pointed out that with the registration, and standardisation of professions, the Bill would ensure generation of more employment.

“There is some concern that India’s doctor-patient ratio does not meet WHO standards. But the ratio is one doctor for every 854 patients, which I think is very good,’’ he said.

The Health Minister told the House that inclusion of professionals such as dieticians, physiotherapists etc, makes the healthcare system multi-disciplinary, “which is how it should be”. “This standardisation will also improve distribution of professionals across the country, especially in rural and peripheral areas,’’ he said.

The minister said state representatives had been included in the Commission and that provisions have been made for setting up state councils. “After deliberations, we felt it was better to have a common regulatory system for the 50 allied healthcare professionals instead of separate one,’’ he added.

The minister said that clause 4(1) of the Bill provides for a two-year tenure for chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Commission, but there is a provision of recommendation of two more terms for the posts, so that the acting chairperson and vice-chairperson can effectively have a tenure of six years.

Earlier, participating in the discussion, BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab said this Bill classifies 15 major professional categories including 53 professions in allied and healthcare streams.

“There is a need for a statutory mechanism for enumeration, standardization, and regularisation of these professions as has been expressed by a number of experts,” he said, supporting the Bill.

Describing the Bill in the right direction, YSRCP’s Beesetti Venkata Satyavathi said, “The Bill is a path-breaking initiative that has the potential to change the future of healthcare service delivery for the people of this country.”

TRS member BB Patil said that the Bill, by setting up of Allied and Healthcare Council of India and corresponding State Allied and Healthcare Councils, will enable setting of better standards and facilitate the medical profession.

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