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

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 moved on behalf of Babar Awan, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs passed it with majority votes on the condition of inclusion of five points to be amended in the bill.

Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health presented that the bill aims to establish a regulatory council for standardizing the curriculum, training and practice of the professionals establishing the Pakistan Allied Health Professionals and Paramedics Council will help to facilitate the qualified and trained professionals to deliver quality health services at par with the international standard by bringing about uniformity in basics and higher qualification, registration and organisational structure of both public and private teaching institutes.

Through the bill all qualified allied health professionals will be registered and safe-guard their rights; and provides for redressal of complaints/grievances.

After the passage, the chairman committee said that the bill has been passed in the larger interest of the future of Pakistan in the field of medicine and to take maximum measures to reduce quackery especially victimised by the unlearned class of society.

The committee, unanimously, agreed on the prerogative that the bill would explicitly lemmatize the use of the word doctor to be designated (suffixed or prefixed) according to the Professional /Academic Degree in respective discipline.

The bill defined the Allied Health Professionals or AHP as a person who provides diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, curative or rehabilitative services in healthcare in a prescribed manner and has undergone a prescribed course of training in registered institution as an Allied Health Professional. The council will ensure that no allied health professional shall designate himself as doctor for professional purposes. The council will also ensure that the authorisation to use any medical devices will be explicitly defined and limited to the scope of work of the category or discipline.

Representatives of various stakeholders, thoroughly, participated in the meeting and put forward their fears and concerns leading to the formation of a regulatory council. Discussion and question answer session took place at length between the ministry and the stakeholders.

The members of the committee and the ministry gave a patience ear to the concerns of the stakeholders.

The chairman committee assured the stakeholders that through the senate standing committee their plausible suggestions will be taken on board and inculcated in the bill in accordance with the ministry. The committee accepted a number of recommendations presented by the stakeholders and made part of the bill as amendments.

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

“The prerogative of the ministry was that there is a dire need of a framework to ensure list of approved professionals, which has previously misled or benefited by self-proclaimed industries,” stated Dr Faisal Sultan.

The bill will also enable to determine professionals of vast disciplines in the field of medicine in uniformity with the international standards.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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