Year : 2021 | Volume
: 53 | Issue : 2 | Page : 49--50
The issues of concern in respect to the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act 2021 and the notification on laid down rules
Anil Kumar Srivastava
Director and Consultant, Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation, Rehabcare, Lucknow; Director, Deenbandhu Rehabilitation Center, Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India; President, The All India Occupational Therapists' Association; Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Journal of Occupational Therapy; Executive Chairman, The Academic Council of Occupational Therapy; WFOT Delegate
Anil Kumar Srivastava
93, Laxmanpuri, Faizabad Road, Lucknow - 226 016, Uttar Pradesh, India.
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Srivastava AK. The issues of concern in respect to the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act 2021 and the notification on laid down rules.Indian J Occup Ther 2021;53:49-50
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Srivastava AK. The issues of concern in respect to the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act 2021 and the notification on laid down rules. Indian J Occup Ther [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 8 ];53:49-50
Available from: http://www.ijotonweb.org/text.asp?2021/53/2/49/322174
The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act 2021 with independent “Central Council of Occupational Therapy (OT)” notified on March 28, 2021, has received wide acceptance and appreciation by OT professionals in the country and overseas. It has provided recognition, autonomy, and independence to OT as a recognized category of health-care profession in India. The All India Occupational Therapists' Association (AIOTA) is grateful to the National Human Resources for Health (HRH) Cell of the Allied Health Sciences Division in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, for the hard work infused with an extraordinary vision to make it happen. The sincere and dedicated efforts of the AIOTA have ensured that the identity and independence of the profession is established forever and the regulation by a national council will provide a further impetus to the profession of OT in the country.
The Qualifications of the Secretary of the Commission
However, the rules mentioned in Clause 9.2 (a) of Gazette Notification Part II, Section 3, issued on dated May 27, 2021, in respect to the NCAHP Act 2021 informing about the qualifications of the Secretary of the Commission has now become an issue of serious concern. The Act informs the qualification of the Secretary of the Commission as ”A post graduate degree in any discipline, preferably related to medical or allied and healthcare education or healthcare policy or health administration or public health from any university.”
The mention of the word “medical” in the list of eligible disciplines is an issue being opposed emphatically by the AIOTA. Any person who is supposed to be undertaking this important post in the Commission should be having qualifications from any of the recognized categories of Allied and Healthcare Professions in place of medical graduate. This is of primary importance because they would certainly be in a better position to understand the ground realities of the professional categories. Making other professionals not directly related to the recognized categories will critically hamper the entire initiative of the Government of India to provide realistic and standardized policies for the professions mentioned in this bill.
The Delhi Council for Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy (DCPTOT) was established under the Delhi Council for Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Act 1997 (Delhi Act 7 of 1997) via a gazette notification in 2003. Medical professionals were nominated as the president and registrar of the Council. Surprisingly even after 18 years of the establishment of this council, almost the same nominated body is still existing on role without any election till date. Practically, DCPTOT is said to be an inactive council due to the simple reasons that the key positions in the Council are given to medical professionals because they belong to a different profession and hence are unable to understand the needs of the profession and could do only bare minimum for professional upgradation.
Considering the stated facts, the AIOTA has suggested to the National HRH Cell for amending the clause pertaining to the qualification of the Secretary of the Commission in the rules notified in the gazette notification dated May 17, 2021, to be read as: ”A post graduate degree in any discipline, preferably related to allied and healthcare education or healthcare policy or health administration or public health from any university.”
Issue of Registration of Occupational Therapists with the All India Occupational Therapists' Association/World Federation of Occupational Therapists-Approved Diploma in Occupational Therapy Qualification Attained on or Before 1994
In order to improve the education system and the performance and development of the education not only in India but also the world over, the education pattern and curriculum are periodically upgraded to meet out the need and requirement of the country and the professions. The NCAHP Act 2021 informs that occupational therapists with Bachelor in OT will be eligible to get registered with the Central/State Councils which certainly is in conformity with the AIOTA policy. However, occupational therapists with qualification as Diploma in OT pursued from an institution listed under the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT)-approved programs may now not be eligible for registration due to the current provisions stated in the Act.
OT was officially incepted in the year 1950 in India with launching of Diploma in OT with 2-year duration at the country's prestigious K.E.M Hospital of Seth G.S. Medical College, Mumbai. Looking at the need and success of this program, the other premier institutions listed below also followed the pattern gradually.
Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai (1950–1970)Government Medical College, Nagpur (1958–1963)Institute for the Physically Handicapped, New Delhi (1960–1990)Christian Medical College, Vellore (1969–1985)King George's Medical College, Lucknow (1970–1985)Institute of Engineering and Rural Technology, Allahabad (1981–1994)National Institute for the Orthopedically Handicapped, Kolkata (1984–1994)Patna Medical College and Hospital, Patna (1970–2004).
All specified above-listed programs are duly accredited by the AIOTA and the WFOT and are included as the approved/recognized programs from India.
All the above-listed educational programs gradually changed to Bachelor in OT programs except the two defunct programs of Lucknow and Allahabad. Currently in India, the Diploma in OT programs are not existing in any of the institutions after the year 1994.
Being duly qualified from AIOTA/WFOT-approved programs, occupational therapists with Diploma in OT qualifications from the listed above institutions have been considered qualified at par with BOT graduates and few of them are still working in government and private sectors and also in other countries. They should not be deprived of getting themselves registered with the Central Council of OT of the NCAHP Act 2021, even though they are not working after superannuation.
The AIOTA has recommended to the Ministry that occupational therapists with qualification as Diploma in OT pursued from an institution listed under WFOT-approved programs with cut of the year 1994 should also be permitted to register as duly qualified occupational therapists at par with those having Bachelor in OT qualification in Central and State Registers of OT under the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act 2021.
An early decision on this issue will be of a great significance for very senior and even retired occupational therapists who dreamt and also dedicatedly worked for a national regulatory body in the form of the Central OT Council for the last four decades. It would also provide them an opportunity to get themselves registered with the Council.
|1||Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, Legislative Department. The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act; 2021 (Publication No. 14-2021). Available from: https://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2021/226213.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 10; Last updated on 2021 Mar 28].|
|2||The Delhi Council for Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Act; 1997. Available from: http://www.dcptot.com/images/act_1997.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 10; Last updated on 2003 Sep 12].|
|3||WFOT Approved Education Programmes. The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT); 2021. Available from: https://www.wfot.org/programmes/education/wfot-approved-education-programmes. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 10; Last updated on 2021 Jul 10].|