Year : 2021 | Volume
: 3 | Issue : 1 | Page : 1--2
The journey to legislation of the physiotherapy profession
Savita Ravindra1, Desikamani Bandaram Srinivasan2,
1 Department of Physiotherapy, Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Former Vice President and General Secretary, The Indian Association of Physiotherapists
Dr. Savita Ravindra
Professor and Head, Department of Physiotherapy, Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka
|How to cite this article:|
Ravindra S, Srinivasan DB. The journey to legislation of the physiotherapy profession.Indian J Phys Ther Res 2021;3:1-2
|How to cite this URL:|
Ravindra S, Srinivasan DB. The journey to legislation of the physiotherapy profession. Indian J Phys Ther Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 29 ];3:1-2
Available from: https://www.ijptr.org/text.asp?2021/3/1/1/322921
A Brief Historical Backdrop
The first steps in the direction were reposted as early as 1966.
1966: Request was sent to the government for Physiotherapy Council. Govt. agreed for joint Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy (OT) Council because of lack of strength of concerned professionals at that point in time. These are noted as early communications of the National Association.
For several years, there were no recorded initiatives from the Government regarding the formation of regulations for the Profession. The earliest available documentation shows the first proposal in 1994: (a) The Ministry of Health proposes a draft Bill for the Indian Council of Physiotherapy jointly with Occupational Therapy.
(b) The definition, constitution, and composition of the Council were finalized. The Indian Association of Physiotherapy at its General meeting of the Association refused to accept the combined Council and the Matter was closed.
In 1995, very strong efforts were put in to move the formation of an Independent Council. A proposal for “Omnibus council” including physiotherapists along with various health care technicians was proposed by the Government of India. There was a resistance to the Omnibus Council as it was referred to and finally, it was shelved.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 2 of RCI Act, issued a notification dated October 13, 1998, including Physiotherapy under this Act. The Indian Association of Physiotherapist (IAP) took serious objections and after prolonged efforts the Ministry rescinded the said notification on June 25, 1999.
In the Year 2001, A Paramedical Councils of India, Draft bill was proposed for all health care professional categories that were yet to be regulated. The draft was sent to the Department of Legal Affairs for their concurrence. The Ministry of Law opined that the profession of Physiotherapy should not be covered under the term Paramedical. Several representations were made by physiotherapy professionals regarding the nomenclature and the content of the proposed Bill. Physiotherapy Professionals from various walks of life worked with the Government officials. This lead to redrafting of the said Bill and in 2004: A revised draft titled the Paramedical and Physiotherapy Councils Bill was circulated in 2004, highlights of which were:
The proposed definition of Physiotherapy in the paramedical and Physiotherapy Council bill 2004– “Physiotherapy means medically directed therapy through physical agents such as heat, cold, light, water, massage, electricity or manual exercise to individuals who are limited by physical or mental disability or suffering from pain, with the aim of relieving the pain improving muscle strength, mobility and coordination and in order to prevent or correct the disability.”
The tile indicated a Physiotherapy Council, however, the draft included Occupational Therapy as well within the Physiotherapy Council.
Composition and constitution of the council
The Proposed Council would have 24 members and only 1 member to represent physiotherapy community. The inclusion of Occupational Therapist in the council and registration of OT in the register of PT will pose the serious threat to the professional status of PT profession. This Draft Bill did not see light of the day, as it was not tabled in the Parliament.
The discussions on this draft bill continued with the then executive committee members. Dr. S Prabhu, Dr. B. S. Desikamani, and Dr. Bela Sethi made several visits to the Ministry of Health to engage in discussions with the Government to express the concerns on the proposed Bill.
On December 4, 2007: “Para Medical and Physiotherapy Councils Bill-2007, draft Bill was introduced in the parliament and referred to “Parliamentary Committee for Health for review and suggestions. Opinions and suggestions from public regarding the proposed Para medical and Physiotherapy Council Bill-2007 were invited. IAPs submitted Memorandum to “Parliamentary Standing Committee for Health” justifying the reservations on the draft Bill and presented the need for review of several clauses. The Parliamentary Standing Committee for Health submitted its Report on October 21, 2008, in which strong recommendations to consider Physiotherapists status was well addressed.
In 2009, a task force was set up to deliberate and propose the structure and functioning of the National Commission for Human Resources for Health and the same Bill was introduced in 2011 in Rajya Sabha. This draft was put in public domain in 2011. Due to objections from various existing regulatory bodies in Health Sciences such as MCI, DCI, and INC, the draft was set aside.
An attempt to understand the role of Allied Health and Health Care Professionals within the Healthcare system was first made by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as they commissioned a study led by Public Health Foundation of India. The report titled “From Paramedics to Allied Health Services” was published in 2012.
The effort was followed up by setting up of a task force to develop Model Curriculum for various programs under Healthcare and Allied Health Professions. The Model Curriculum for Physiotherapy was published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2016.
2018: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India presented the “Allied and Health Care Professionals Bill 2018, presented the draft bill in RajyaSabha and it was referred to Parliamentary Committee for Health for public opinion and recommendations. The Bill with title was withdrawn and represented as the National Commission for Allied Health and Health Care Professions.
2021: Finally, the National Commission of Allied and Health Professions Council ACT 2021 was passed in both LokSabha and RajyaSabha and Act published in Gazette of India on March 28, 2021, and notified regarding conferring empowerment from May 25, 2021.
The constant struggle by our seniors and currently by the team formed by the Council Act Committee has made this possible and we dedicate this success to all those who have directly and indirectly worked for getting this Independent status. This has led to a new Dawn in our struggle and effort for legislation to the Profession of Physiotherapy.
However, the delay and long waiting with NO compromise to get Independent Professional status and Health care category has come true. It is worth mentioning that the demand for the establishment of Autonomous Regulatory Body for Physiotherapists and regulation for Physiotherapists, by Physiotherapists and to Physiotherapists is met and elevation of professional status has been initiated.
Allied and Healthcare Professionals provide array of technical, diagnostic, curative, preventive, therapeutic, and rehabilitative services that aid in successful functioning and significant contribution of the healthcare delivery system.