The Indian Orthopaedic Association (IOA), the umbrella body of orthopaedics, is at loggerheads with physiotherapists who are using the prefix 'Dr' and also prescribing medicines for patients.
The matter was brought to the notice of the association by complaints and it has warned it would take appropriate action against the offenders if they continued the practice.
IOA has said that misuse of the prefix 'Dr' gives the wrong impression to patients.
Dr Anil Jain, president, IOA, said, "The matter of physiotherapists using the 'Dr' prefix has cropped up several times in government departments, courts and even at the Medical Council of India (MCI). All are of the opinion that physiotherapists should not use the prefix."
However, the Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAP) has responded saying that the matter is being blown out of proportion simply because physios don't have a strong central body.
Dr Umasankar Mohanty, president, IAP, said, "This is just politics to marginalise us as we don't have a central council. This issue has been haunting us for the past three to four years. We are not well represented."
The issue has erupted regularly in various parts of the country over the past few years, but there appears to be no resolution.
Dr Jain said IOA would try to stop this unethical practice as it misleads patients. "There are instances of people going directly to physiotherapists. One must understand that physiotherapy is undertaken only after consulting an orthopaedician," he said.
But there are some who don't mind physiotherapists using the prefix as long as they do not prescribe medicines. "They should stick to their role. We must work as a team. Physiotherapists serve people too," said Dr Sachin Bhosle, orthopaedic surgeon at Fortis hospital in Mulund.
Dr Kishor Taori, chairman, Maharashtra Medical Council, backed the move by IOA to act against the misuse saying, "Since physiotherapists are not registered under our umbrella we cannot take action against them. But the civic body, which registers their clinics can act against them."