Chinese Medicine steps into Future Healthcare for New Zealanders
Today the Ministry of Health announced that Chinese Medicine is to be included under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003).
“This is a welcome decision” says Robin Kerr, President of Acupuncture New Zealand (AcNZ). “Inclusion under the Act will provide greater assurance of safety and competence for the public of New Zealand. It will support patient centred practice through stronger collaboration with GPs and other health providers as recommended by the Health and Safety Review 2020”.
The decision brings the more than 1200 practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine into line with other Allied Health professionals in New Zealand and with our colleagues in Australia. Acupuncture NZ has been a member of Allied Health Aotearoa NZ (AHANZ) since 2008. Chinese medicine became a registered profession in Australia in 2012.
Acupuncture is widely accepted as being of value in the treatment of musculo-skeletal injuries, having been covered by ACC since 1990. In recent weeks the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK included acupuncture as a recommended treatment for the treatment of chronic pain.
Increasingly, both here in New Zealand and overseas, it is playing an important role in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, both in private clinics and within the hospital setting. Many oncology units in American hospitals now include an acupuncturist on their staff as it is invaluable in reducing side effects which may be experienced from radiology or chemotherapy. Acupuncture has repeatedly been demonstrated to improve quality of life outcomes for many conditions.
In recent years, more robust scientific studies completed by universities and hospitals have shown quite unequivocally that Chinese medicine has an important role to play in health care. In February this year there were close to 15,000 studies on acupuncture listed on the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.
Recognition of Chinese Medicine comes at a time when the health care system in New Zealand is undergoing major changes as a result of the Health and Disabilities Service review 2020. There is already growing public and professional recognition of the wide range of health benefits of Chinese medicine. With a history of many thousands of years and backed by recent and robust science, Chinese Medicine and acupuncture practitioners are now set to become recognised, regulated health professionals.
The new Responsible Authority (RA) will be known as the Chinese Medicine Council of New Zealand.