From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill 2020
Mains level : Paper 2- NCAHP Bill 2020
The article highlights the key aspects of NCAHP Bill 2020 which recognises the allied healthcare professionals and seeks to regulate and set the standards of education.
Regulating allied health professions
- The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2020 (NCAHP) was passed by Parliament in March.
- Global evidence demonstrates the vital role of allied professionals in the delivery of healthcare services.
- They are the first to recognise the problems of the patients and serve as safety nets.
- Their awareness of patient care accountability adds tremendous value to the healthcare team in both the public and private sectors.
- The passage of this Bill has the potential to overhaul the entire allied health workforce by establishing institutes of excellence and regulating the scope of practice by focusing on task shifting and task-re distribution.
What the Bill provides for
- This legislation provides for regulation and maintenance of standards of education and services by allied and healthcare professionals and the maintenance of a central register of such professionals.
- It recognises over 50 professions such as physiotherapists, optometrists, nutritionists, medical laboratory professionals, radiotherapy technology professionals, which had hitherto lacked a comprehensive regulatory mechanism.
- This Bill classifies allied professionals using the International System of Classification of Occupations (ISCO code).
- This facilitates global mobility and enables better opportunities for such professionals.
- The Act aims to establish a central statutory body as a National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions.
- The Bill has the provision for state councils to execute major functions through autonomous boards.
Shift in perception and policy in healthcare delivery
- There has been a paradigm shift in perception, policy, and programmatic interventions in healthcare delivery in India since 2017.
- In the past, curative healthcare received substantially greater attention than preventive and promotive aspects.
- Ayushman Bharat as a programmatic intervention, with its two pillars of Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), operationalised certain critical recommendations of the National Health Policy, 2017, emphasising wellness in healthcare.
- With PMJAY, the neediest are protected from catastrophic expenditure and India took the first step towards delivering comprehensive primary healthcare with HWCs.
Caring for patients with mental conditions, the elderly, those in need of palliative services, and enabling professional services for lifestyle change related to physical activity and diets, all require a trained, allied health workforce. The NCAHP is not only timely but critical to this changing paradigm.