The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 4th December, 2007 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare (Chairperson: Shri Amar Singh).
The Paramedical and Physiotherapy Central Councils Bill, 2007 seeks to set up three councils to regulate physiotherapists and occupational therapists, medical laboratory technicians and radiology technicians.
Each central council shall set minimum educational standards for the profession it regulates and maintain a register of qualified practitioners. It can specify standards of professional conduct for each profession and take disciplinary action, including the removal of a person’s name from the register, against any practitioner found to be guilty of violating such standards.
Every university or institution offering educational courses in the relevant subjects has to seek the prior approval of the central government.
Every person practicing under the Act has to be registered with the respective council.
All members of each central council are either government officials or are directly appointed by the central government. Similar bodies such as the Medical Council of
India have some members elected from amongst practitioners.
The Bill ensures that the central council is bound to follow any directions issued to it by the central government. In contrast, the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, does not bind that council to act on any directions from the government without the constitution of a Commission of Enquiry.
The Bill defines physiotherapy and occupational therapy as ‘medically-directed’ treatments which imply that practitioners in both professions may be able to treat only those patients referred by a doctor. As of now, they can treat patients directly.
Some states already have laws which regulate these professions. Practitioners in these states will have to register themselves with both the state and central councils.