The Joint Forum of Medical Technologists of India (JFMTI) has expressed disappointment over the National Commission for Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) Bill-2011 introduced in Parliament recently.

In a statement issued here, Kaptan Singh Sehrawat, general secretary of the Forum said that while the proposed Commission-to be established as regulatory body under the Act - is supposed to adopt all existing councils with same identity and name without any deliberation on the numbers of professionals to be regulated under it, all other unregulated allied health professionals who have significant numbers in health care will have to do with single common Paramedical Council to be set up for them as per the proposed Bill.

“Practically it is impossible to manage more than 15 unregulated categories of allied health professionals/paramedical staff under the single Paramedical Council under NCHRH while on the other side very few health professional will enjoy the status of an independent council like pharmacists, dentists. Either there should be a common Health Professional Council of India (HPCI) with different departments under it or it requires separate councils for different categories to be constituted under NCHRH,’’ he said.

The JFMTI is a national organisation representing the common voice for its more than 30 associations of Allied health professionals from various streams like Medical Laboratory Technology, Radiology Technology, Radiation Therapy Technology, Operation Theatre Technology, Cardiology and Neurology Technology from Central government, State government autonomous bodies and private health establishments in India.

Mr Sehrawat said the world has moved away from an archaic term like ‘paramedical’ and switched over to ‘allied health professional’ recognizing the reality of different characteristics and importance of each of the streams by establishing independent council for them while in India it is to be clubbed under one Council as per NCHRH.

This, he said, was a retrograde action as the medical science had, over the years, primarily evolved due to revolutionary changes in allied health sciences and diagnostics has acquired as much importance as treatment itself. I

n Indian health system the word ‘Paramedics’ is indistinguishable therefore ‘medical technologists or allied health professionals’ were accepted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee during Paramedical Bill but “we do not know why the concerned Ministry has again presented these disputed version of Bill.’’ He sought to know.

It may be recalled that the government had planned to bring Paramedical Councils Bill in 2007 where it was recommended by Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee in its report that separate council were required for different streams. The exercise to bring forward NCHRH was supposed to provide an overarching Act to cover all sectors of the health professionals. The Forum says, it expected that such an Act would not only streamline the education facilities in all streams of paramedical/allied health sector but also accord recognition to the different streams of allied health professionals in the country but present draft has completely ignored the recommendation made by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Paramedical and Physiotherapy Central Council Bill in 2007.

“Besides, we on behalf of all allied health professionals under JFMTI had also submitted a comprehensive memorandum on preliminary NCHRH draft bill which was made available on public domain by ministry of health, seeking necessary suggestions on this national health issue but concerned Ministry has, without deliberating upon these suggestions seriously, presented a vague draft bill again which is very sad for us,’’ said Mr. Sehrawat.

We welcome the move of setting single regulatory mechanism under one Act but it requires separate councils under it. The proposed single council for paramedical staff under NCHRH will be overburdened with plethora of issues of several categories with no expertise to handle all. Though the idea of providing a comprehensive and coordinated regulatory framework is good but it should not be too much centralized and impractical to implement it, therefore the Government should make serious initiatives if they are keen to improve current regulatory framework says JFMTI statement.