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Parliament passes National Commission for Allied, Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021

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New Delhi, Mar 24: A bill to set up a Commission for regulating and prescribing uniform education standards for allied and healthcare professionals was approved by Parliament with Lok Sabha giving a nod to the legislation by a voice vote on Wednesday.

The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021, seeks to provide for regulation and maintenance of standards of education and services by allied and healthcare professionals.

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The bill has already been passed by Rajya Sabha last week. Replying to a debate on the Bill, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the legislation is aimed at fulfilling long-pending demands of the sector, and enhance employment opportunities for professionals.

"The paramedics and allied healthcare workers are critical part of the medical profession and their contribution is similar to doctors, if not more. The group of allied professionals is large and the bill is trying to regulate this field by providing dignity to their roles," he said.

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Recalling the role played by paramedics and allied healthcare workers lab technicians, radiographers, dieticians during the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said they played a very critical role in recovery of patients.

This landmark Bill is going to regulatory structure and ensure registration of 50 such allied and healthcare professionals, he said, adding that this will make healthcare a multi-disciplinary system with patient in focus.

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

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The chairman and vice-chairman of the body will be selected for two years and they would be eligible for renomination for further two terms. Vardhan said all standards have been coded by international yardsticks and there will be representations from all states and union territories on this commission with each state having state-level commissions.

So, he said, this will help in enhancing their standard and skills. "A common regulator has been prepared for all allied professions. This will enable a team-based approach to patient care," he said.

The bill provides for regulation and maintenance of standards of education and services by allied and healthcare professionals, assessment of institutions, maintenance of a central and a state register and creation of a system to improve research and development and adoption of latest scientific advancement.

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The allied and healthcare professions include a wide range of workers for diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic diseases. These professions also work to optimise patient outcomes and attend to overall prevention, promotion, wellness and management of diseases.

According to the statement of objects and the reasons of the bill, the advancement in the health sector, changing preferences of consumers and service providers, had warranted creation of a fresh vision of healthcare delivery with a patient-centric approach and focus on moving to a multi-disciplinary team-based care.

"This has necessitated the need to implement new ways of deploying health workers, strengthening the workforce by task-shifting models and improving access to quality services through qualified and competent allied and healthcare professionals," it added.

Earlier in December 2018, the Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2018, was introduced in Rajya Sabha and the same was referred to the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee, which after a detailed examination recommended certain amendments.

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