December 12, 2009

Are physiotherapists doctors? - TN Govt in a Fix

Are physiotherapists doctors? For several decades, healthcare professionals have debated on the subject. With concerned authorities Upping the ante is a recent Tamil Nadu government order, prohibiting physiotherapists from using the title Dr' before their names. Protesting physiotherapists have appealed to the state health department to hold the order in abeyance until the matter is settled by the Supreme Court. The apex court, meanwhile, is hearing a special leave petition against an order of the Patna high court holding that there is no specific legal prohibition against physiotherapists using the Dr' title.

"There was no clarity on the issue; neither was there any rule for or against anyone at the national or state level," says state health secretary V K Subburaj. Senior health department officials point to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report on Allied Health (Paramedical) Services and Education Report' which lists physiotherapists with other paramedical personnel.

"Health being a state subject, we brought in our own rules to introduce an element of clarity. While doctors are governed by the Medical Council of India (MCI), there is no governing council for physiotherapists. We decided to start one and the common feeling across the healthcare sector and among officials was that physiotherapists should not be called doctors," he explains, adding that after the representation made by the physiotherapists' association, the state government is now reconsidering its decision and holding discussions.

According to MCI, the statutory body that regulates medical colleges, affiliations, new colleges and doctors' registration, the powers of the council are restricted to those who have studied allopathic medicine. "We can only say that people who have not cleared MBBS cannot use the title. There are several practitioners of ayurveda, homeopathy, siddha or unani. There are even traditional medical practioners who do not go to any medical school. Though the members of the council may have their opinion, the council does have the right to say whether they (physiotherapists) can use the title or not," says MCI vice president Kesavan Kutty Nayar.

Argues the head of the Indian Association of Physiotherapists, Chennai branch, I A Jayaprakash, "Like any medical doctor we study anatomy and physiology. We go through a curriculum for four-and-a-half years, just like they do. When dentists, ayurvedics and homeopaths can be doctors, why not us?" he asks.

Link: Original Article

9 comments:

saanil jagannath said...

The following statute governs Physical Therapists’ use of titles:
Under the provisions of Section 12-41-104. Use of titles restricted.

A person licensed as a Physical Therapist may use the title “Physical Therapist” or the letters “P.T.” or any other generally accepted terms, letters, or figures which indicate that the person is a Physical Therapist. No other person shall be so designated or shall use the term “Physical Therapist”, “Licensed Physical Therapist”, “Physiotherapist”, “Licensed Physiotherapist”, or “Physical Therapy Technician”, or the letters “P.T.” or “L.P.T.”


Rule 8 – Use of Titles Restricted
The purpose of this rule is to clarify the use of titles, professional degrees and other educational degrees under Section 12-41-104, C.R.S.

A. Obtaining a physical therapy license does not entitle or confer upon the licensee the right to use the title “Dr.” or “Doctor”.

B. A licensed physical therapist can use the title “Dr.” or “Doctor” only when such licensee has, in fact, been awarded a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy (D.P.T.), or another Academic or Clinical Doctorate Degree (e.g. Ph.D., Sc.D.) from an accredited program by a national recognized accrediting agency as required in Section 6-1-707, C.R.S., pertaining to the use of titles and degrees.

C. A physical therapist holding a doctorate degree may include the title “Dr.” or “Doctor” only when accompanied by the words of the conferred degree following his/her legal name and after the title “P.T.”.
For example: “Dr. Ananta Kumar Panicker, P.T., D.P.T.”
Or “Dr. Ananta Kumar Panicker, P.T., Ph.D.”

D. A physical therapist not holding a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy or Transitional Doctorate Degree must not use the title “Dr.” or “Doctor”.

Garry said...

Hello, This is Gourav Banerjee; a Physiotherapist writing here in an attempt to clear some murky clouds concerning our profession.

The undergraduate syllabus of BPT is four and half years, post graduate being 2/3 years and subsequent Phd.

In a country like India where there's humongous equity & disparity & a massive unawareness about the health specialists (health care professionals), I think "Dr" title should be allowed to use with the suffix 'PT' in order to get ourselves recognized as a matter of tradition and convention. PTs don't intend to deceit the mob at the large by the use of the title "Dr" and we denounce the heinous malpractice done by some PTs and request not to frame all of us in the similar way.

In the developed countries like US, UK, Australia, Canada, NZ Physiotherapist enjoy autonomy & are first contact practitioners and exercise professional judgment and they need not require prior referral from a medical doctor. Such countries have upgraded the existing Physiotherapy course/structure to DPT - Doctor of Physiotherapy. Adding to that they need not use the title "Dr" as the patients/clients very well recognize them as a health care professional.
Also if MCI and Indian system of medicine has adopted its early rules, regulations, acts, scope of practice from the UK laid in early to mid 20th century, then they must also look on to the fact that "Dr" is a title that is exclusively used by medical professionals holding a MD degree (doctor of medicine) & a subsequent higher degree (eg DM). Health care professionals having a Phd, dentist (after revolting in late 90's) & few others use the title "Dr" in the UK. Surgeons including orthopaedicians having MS (master of surgery) degree do not use the title "Dr" as it doesn't confers to a "doctor degree". Even MCh holders are no exception.
Does this mean that we follow UK & not allow our Indian surgeons to use the much dignified title "Dr"?

Many of us must be aware of the medical school system in US & the very loop holes existing there; an Indian MBBS holder after getting his/her credentials evaluated & clearing USMLE is awarded a MD title there; this means the Indian MBBS degree confers to a MD degree in the US ! The Indian BPT/MPT degree holders too after getting themselves evaluated & clearing the NPTE are eligible for DPT/t-DPT(doctor of physical therapy) in the US !

The Union Ministry of Law & Justice has clarified in the past that the Physiotherapy is an Independent profession and can
not be labeled as Paramedical.

I believe the WHO definition for Physiotherapy & MCI's obsolete early and mid 2oth century act must be amended big time now in order to ensure a better health care system in India. We don't like to practice allopathy like the BAMS/BHMS/BUMS/Traditional practitioners etc; but practice physiotherapy within our own scope of practice of which we are very much competent in evaluating, diagnosing and treating without any prior medical referral and enjoy autonomy.

To conclude I'd like to say that the medical/health care system is very intricated owing to the holistic nature of medicine & the GOI must initiate steps to ensure for the betterment of the health care profession & professionals.

I believe am serene & veracious with my comments& my connotation is well understood.

Regards,

Gourav Banerjee
BPT,FNR,MSC (UK)

raj said...

hi, when we consider MBBS,BAMS ,BHMS and other people as doctors without doing any doctoral course then why cant a physiotherapist put Dr in prefix.
these is very shame full for allopathy people who are commenting about physios using dr prefix.when allopathy people can accept ayurvedic,homeopathy ,unani people can practice allopathy without its drug knowledge, why cant a physio can practice allopathy after studying all subjects in allopathy.

Anonymous said...

The Physiotherapists have a supportive role only in healthcare. They are not doctors

@ankhi said...

people who cure by means of prescribing medicines are generally considered to be a part of the community of doctors. they provide life saving drugs. this includes MBBS,BHMS,BDS,BAMS,BUMS proffessionals. since they learn how to cure and heal EACH AND EVERY TYPE of DISEASE (yes BHMS/BAMS professionals learn everything, please don't comment without knowing anything about their course and legal degree) and they are legally allowed to use a "Dr" before their names IN INDIA. do physiotherapists gain such knowledge of medications which involves every sphere of treatment apart from the physical ones they receive? are they LEGALLY approved to treat the patients requiring the similar medications? for eg.an MBBS/BHMS is entitled to treat a patient suffering from gastric problem. can a BPT do that (BDS doctors can't treat anyone except the ones they are entitled to, though they gain the knowledge of each every subject taught in their couse)?
I do not want to raise questions about the knowledge one receives while studying MBBS/BHMS/BAMS since knowledge can never be compared to any materialistic thing.
i just want to know the current rules and regulations of the govt. (if any) providing the criterias required to use "Dr" before one's name in INDIA only.

Bala raj said...

Do you know what homeopaths and ayurveda doctors sylabus??? they have all allopathic subjects except pharmacology... can you give cure for all diseases...? alternative medicine doctors and physiotherapists are not equal..,

Bala raj said...

do you know what BHMS & BAMS doctors syllabus?? without knowing how can you tell they are not elligible for the word "dr"? Physiotherapists are only supporters. can you give cure for all disease??? alt.med doctors and physiotheraphists are not equal...

raju physio said...

why bnys call as doctor like that we specialised in exercise also yoga and acupuncture manupulation instead of allopathy we use modality equipment without sideeffects

Cb Johnson said...

In the developed countries like US, UK, Australia, Canada, NZ Physiotherapist enjoy autonomy & are first contact practitioners and exercise professional judgment and they need not require prior referral from a medical doctor. Such countries have upgraded the existing Physiotherapy course/structure to DPT - Doctor of Physiotherapy. Adding to that they need not use the title "Dr" as the patients/clients very well recognize them as a health care professional.
Also if MCI and Indian system of medicine has adopted its early rules, regulations, acts, scope of practice from the UK laid in early to mid 20th century, then they must also look on to the fact that "Dr" is a title that is exclusively used by medical professionals holding a MD degree (doctor of medicine) & a subsequent higher degree (eg DM). Health care professionals having a Phd, dentist (after revolting in late 90's) & few others use the title "Dr" in the UK. Surgeons including orthopaedicians having MS (master of surgery) degree do not use the title "Dr" as it doesn't confers to a "doctor degree". Even MCh holders are no exception.
Does this mean that we follow UK & not allow our Indian surgeons to use the much dignified title "Dr"?

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