Senate body passes “Allied Health Professionals Council Bill 2021” – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services on Thursday conditionally passed “The Allied Health Professionals Council Bill 2021,” by a majority vote.

The Senate Standing Committee, which met here under the chairmanship of Senator Dr Muhammad Humayun Mohmand, while discussing the Allied Health Professionals Council Bill, 2021, proposed on behalf of Babar Awan, Adviser of the Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, adopted it by a majority of votes on the condition of including five points to be modified in the bill.

Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the prime minister for health, said the bill seeks to establish a regulatory council to standardize the curriculum, training and practice of professionals. to provide quality health services at the same level as the international standard by standardizing basic and higher qualifications, registration and organizational structure of public and private educational institutes.

Thanks to the bill, all qualified paramedics will be registered and their rights protected; and provides for redress of complaints/grievances.

After the passage, the chairman of the committee said that the bill was passed in the wider interest of Pakistan’s future in the field of medicine and to take maximum measures to reduce quackery particularly victimized of the illiterate class of society.

The committee unanimously agreed to the prerogative that the bill make explicit the use of the word physician to be designated (with suffix or prefix) according to the professional/academic degree in the respective discipline.

The bill defined allied health professionals or AHPs as a person who provides diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, curative or rehabilitative health care services in a prescribed manner and has completed a prescribed course of training at an institution certified as a paramedical professional. The council will ensure that no allied health professional designates himself as a doctor for professional purposes. The council will also ensure that the authorization to use any medical device is explicitly defined and limited to the scope of activity of the category or discipline.

Representatives from various stakeholders, from top to bottom, participated in the meeting and shared their fears and concerns leading to the formation of a regulatory council. A long discussion and question-and-answer session took place between the ministry and the stakeholders.

Committee members and the department listened patiently to stakeholders’ concerns.

The chairman of the committee assured the stakeholders that, through the Senate standing committee, their plausible suggestions will be considered and inculcated into the bill as per the ministry. The committee accepted a number of recommendations made by stakeholders and incorporated the bill as amendments.

The Health Professionals Council Bill, 2021 will now read as the Health Professionals Council Bill, 2021 as presented by the stakeholders after a lengthy debate. Other amendments include the word “dispensaries, clinical psychology and “academics” in the advisory committee, the bill will explicitly define the use of the designated word Doctor prefixed or suffixed with the name in addition to the holder’s degree/training title, in the respective discipline.

“The prerogative of the ministry was that there was an urgent need for a framework to ensure the list of licensed professionals, which has already misled or benefited self-proclaimed industries,” Dr Faisal Sultan said.

The bill will also determine professionals from broad disciplines in the field of medicine in uniformity with international standards.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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