Physiotherapists defend right to use Dr prefix

Physiotherapists in the city are an unhappy lot as they claim that various organisations are trying to degrade their profession and challenge their right to prefix the title of a doctor before their name.

The Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAP) is trying hard to get the physiotherapy council bill passed in the forthcoming monsoon session. The bill proposes widening the definition of physiotherapy, changing the name of the council, segregation of occupational therapists from the definition and having a higher pay scale and cadre.

Physiotherapists use Dr as a prefix and PT as a suffix with their name so that a patient gets to know that the doctor is a physiotherapist, a practice not undertaken by any other stream of medical science, said Dr Ali Irani, president IAP.

The IAP had to issue a public notice recently, stating that the Medical Council of India and Indian Medical Association did not have the statutory power to regulate the physiotherapy profession in the country.

Dr Sanjeev Kumar Jha, general secretary of the IAP, has issued a stern warning to refrain from defaming physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy is a system of medicine that involves diagnosing and treating a range of diseases and disabilities by using physical means, but some people are defaming the profession by stating that physiotherapists were prescribing medicines, said Irani. "Physiotherapy is not confined to exercise. It can diagnose, examine, treat and prevent problems caused by pain, disability and disease, sport and work-related injuries, ageing and long periods of inactivity. Hence, physiotherapists rightly put Dr as a prefix," said Dr Shaila Sabnis, principal, Sancheti Institute's College of Physiotherapy and former convenor of the IAP's Pune branch.

"We have informed members about the public notice and in no way do we want to deceive people," she added. Dr Shweta Basu Roy, lecturer Sancheti Institute's College of Physiotherapy and a member of IAP, said physiotherapy is a totally drugless therapy and that a physiotherapist goes through a four and half year degree course and then 2-3 years of post graduate course to study the discipline.

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