Parliament passes National Commission for Allied, Healthcare Professions Bill

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. 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. 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. 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. Dr. 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.