Hello everyone! (:
Greetings from the council retreat. It’s 10.10pm and the year1s are fighting for the toilet to bathe….
We will be commencing our next meeting at 10.30pm so I’m just here to give you guys some more updates on the Allied Health Profession Bill. Apparently, it was on My Paper. Kudos to my friend who is working at SPH (:
Here it is!
Headline: Allied health pros face regulation
Byline: JOY FANG
Date: Thursday, 09 September 2010
(C) Singapore Press Holdings Limited
IT MIGHT be nothing out of the ordinary right now for gym personal trainers to loosely label themselves as physiotherapists, while prescribing exercise routines for their clients.
But this may soon be a thing of the past as speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists might have to be officially registered by a council under a new Bill.
Currently, allied health professionals (AHP) – which also includes diagnostic radiographers, clinical psychologists and medical social workers – are not regulated.
Regulation is left to their respective professional associations, but membership is not compulsory.
Complaints are also not monitored by any common body, and service providers usually deal directly with complainants individually.
Under the proposed Bill, titled the Allied Health Professions Bill, people who are not registered will no longer be allowed to refer to themselves by their professional titles when providing services.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) hopes to introduce the Bill, expected to come into effect in 2012, to deal with loopholes and raise the standards of the allied health professionals, as well as to protect the health and safety of the public.
Regulation will begin with speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. There are an estimated 600 to 700 physiotherapists, 400 to 500 occupational therapists and 150 speech therapists practising here.
MOH’s director of medical services, Professor K. Satku, said: “We are looking at a bigger group first, to start with… I’m quite certain that in due course, most of the allied health professionals would be regulated under this Bill.”
AHPs “have been an integral part of mainstream medicine… they have maintained a good standard of practice” so far, said Prof Satku. However, without regulation, these professionals have not been “given their due recognition”, he added.
Also, the number of AHPs has grown significantly – with most of the AHP groups increasing by 80 to 100 per cent over the last five years.
But about 30 to 50 per cent of them have not joined their professional associations, which raises concern on how they are going to maintain standards, said Prof Satku.
In the light of this, a regulatory body, the Allied Health Professions Council, will be set up to regulate the standards of practice, conduct and ethics for AHPs and approve or reject registration applications.
Members of the council will be appointed by the Health Minister, and the council will have a representative from MOH and the Ministry of Education, and at least one individual from each regulated AHP.
Complaints will be handled by a committee, while more serious offences – such as forgery of credentials or practising during a period of suspension – will be referred to a disciplinary tribunal.
Errant professionals found guilty of an offence might be struck off the register, suspended for a period of between three months and three years, fined up to $50,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding 12 months.
MOH will present the Bill in Parliament by the end of this year, with its second reading targeted for early next year. The ministry will be undertaking a public consultation to get feedback.
Ms Jacqueline Phang, a speech and language therapist, welcomes the move.
“With a systematic framework in place to accredit AHPs based on qualifications and experience, it will increase our credibility and overall standard of practice,” said Ms Phang of speech-therapy clinic Yakkety Yak in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.
“Registration will give our clients some assurance that we fulfil an acceptable standard of practice and abide by a code of conduct,” she said, adding that it is “possible” that the number of clients might increase.