We are not yet halfway through the year and already 2018 has thrown some challenges in the direction of our profession. Much of the work the board undertakes in responding to these issues is relatively unseen, as we lobby, respond, meet with and write to key stakeholders. Worse than being unseen is when misinformation is speculated or shared on social media, so I will be providing more regular updates on what the NHAA board is doing to grow awareness and understanding of what we do — not only to represent the best interests of our members, but the naturopathic and herbalist professions more broadly.
Health fund rebates: There was some misinformation about what this policy announcement means and why it is or is not an issue. The announcement by the Federal government signals the cessation of what are in effect government subsidies to the health insurance industry on certain natural therapy cover. As many of our longer serving practitioners highlighted, this is a relatively recent initiative and the consensus is that people will continue to consult with naturopaths and herbalists after this is removed just as they did before. What we believe is more of an issue, and the basis of our meetings and correspondence with Minister Hunt’s office earlier this year, is the unintended yet significant impact this change in policy will have on the professions we represent. Following is a summary of the issued we raised:
We also directed the Minister’s office to a report commissioned by the Victorian government and published in November 2005, called ‘The Practice and Regulatory Requirements of Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine’. Published by La Trobe University and authored by Vivian Lin, Alan Bensoussan, Stephen P Myers, Pauline McCabe, Marc Cohen, Sophie Hill and Genevieve Howse, this is often referred to as the ‘Lin Report’ or ‘The La Trobe Report’. What a volume of work! I likewise commend anyone as a student, practitioner or interested ally who is not familiar with it, to make themselves so. It can be found here http://www.health.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/320188/naturopathy-final1106.pdf
The Practice and Regulatory Requirements of Naturopathy ...
School of Public Health The Practice and Regulatory Requirements of Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine Vivian Lin Alan Bensoussan Stephen P. Myers
There is no quick fix here. I hope this explains by way of example why the NHAA believes statutory regulation is important, as well as an insight into some of work the board does ‘behind the scenes’ for our members.
Australia’s oldest association: Founded in 1920, the NHAA is Australia’s oldest professional association of complementary therapists. Representing Western herbalists and naturopaths, we are the only national professional association specifically concerned with the practice and education of Western herbal medicine and naturopathy in Australia. The NHAA also represents Australia on the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF), an entity formed to advance the profession of naturopathy globally, including consultation with the World Health Organization. The WNF encourages regulation of the naturopathic profession in every jurisdiction as regulation of the profession ensures patient safety, practitioner accountability and professional integrity. I have also served as WNF Treasurer for the last 12 months, my term ended in May this year. The significance of this is several fold — we are approaching our 100th birthday. We will be celebrating our 100th year at the NHAA International Conference on herbal and naturopathic medicine in 2019 and we will be hosting the WNF General Assembly at that event! Hold space in your diaries now for what will be a milestone event in our proud history: 29–31 March, 2019 in Melbourne.
I look forward to seeing you there and, as always, we value all our members and your continued support.