Registration of Naturopaths & Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners
"Freedom to choose how you care for your health".
...For the rights of all Australians to have the freedom of choice in choosing their healthcare providers and access to qualified health professionals.
DID YOU KNOW?
Australia has a system of statutory registration for many healthcare practitioners. Notable exceptions to the registered professions include Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners (WHMPs) – which make up at least 5,000 to 15,000 of health care providers to the Australian public.
In Australia, the demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and healthcare is increasing with 1 in 6[i] Australians using complementary therapists as their primary healthcare practitioner, of which Naturopaths are by far the dominant complementary medicine modality – accounting for 8.7 million[ii] health consultations per year.
In 2005, the estimated number of visits to Complementary and Alternative Medicine practitioners by adult Australians in the 12-month period was 69.2 million.
CAM practitioners provide up to 50% of all health consultations and are primary point-of-care providers for a third of CAM users[iii].
The number of people using Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine (WHM) as a form of primary care is greater than those using (Traditional) Chinese Medicine, which became a Nationally Registered Profession in 2012[iv].
The (TGA) regulatory reforms that are currently taking place make it likely that un-registered healthcare practitioners (in particular, Naturopaths and Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners) will become marginalised in their practice – by placing limitations on their ability to receive advertising and educational material from practitioner-only supplement companies -which is a major source of continuing education for a majority of these health professionals’[v].
This means that without statutory registration, many of these changes will, in fact, facilitate the erosion of Naturopaths’ and Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners’ professional scope of practice, and their ability to continue providing the quality and standard of care they are currently able to provide.
The registration of Naturopaths and Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners is important for:
Protection of Title
The ability to be defined as Healthcare Practitioners by the TGA, particularly with regard to advertising and IVD's
The ability to continue to receive education, technical information and advertising from Practitioner-Only companies
To ensure minimum practice standards and procedures for Healthcare Practitioners who are not complying with professional standards
The Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia (CHC), as the peak body representing the complementary health care industry, advocates the rights of Australians to have the freedom of choice in choosing their healthcare providers and access to qualified health professionals; and recognises the vital role that the estimated thousands[vi] of Naturopaths and Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners nationwide in private practice, health food stores, pharmacies and within the government and complementary medicines industry play, in both the public health sector and complementary medicines industry.
It is therefore concerning that these proposed changes may impede Australians’ rights to seek integrated healthcare and reduce the quality of available healthcare options.
Additionally, these changes may harm a thriving industry that is based on an educative, accessible and preventative approach to healthcare, which makes these professionals so highly sought after – as both primary care providers and as an integral part of a patient-centred, integrated healthcare team.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Click here to view the CHC White Paper and for more on the background and key issues our Industry and its Professionals are currently facing including:
The introduction of In Vitro Diagnostic Device (IVDD) listing to the TGA;
The advertising of Complementary Medicines to Practitioners;
The Australian Healthcare Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA )and the National Scheme;
Vital tools of the trade (IVDDs) and why they are an important part of Naturopathic and Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners’ care;
The AHMAC criteria for National Registration;
Why the CHC is supportive of Registration of Naturopaths and Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners;