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Committee On Complementary And Alternative Health

Minister Names Appointments To Advisory Committee On Complementary And Alternative Health

HEALTH Minister Annette King today named the members of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary and Alternative Health, which will be chaired by Professor Peggy Koopman-Boyden, who is also dean of the faculty of arts and social sciences at Waikato University.

Mrs King and Green party health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said the advisory committee was being established as an initiative the Green party negotiated with the Government in last year's Budget.

"People are taking greater control of their own health and they are increasingly seeking alternative health remedies," Mrs King said. "I look forward to receiving well considered expert advice from this committee on complementary and alternative healthcare, including advice on how complementary and alternative therapies can support the priorities outlined in the New Zealand Health Strategy."

"I also expect to receive advice on the desirability of regulating complementary and alternative healthcare practitioners in order to protect consumers, advice on consumer information needs, and advice on integrating alternative health practitioners into the mainstream health system."

Mrs King said the committee would also review overseas evidence-based research on complementary and alternative healthcare so it could identify priorities to develop local research into the safety and efficacy of specific complementary and alternative therapies, and support the development of New Zealand guidelines.

Ms Kedgley said the committee had a good mix of complementary health practitioners, medical practitioners, Maori, Pacific and consumer representatives, who would be able to provide expert advice to the Minister on ways of developing a more integrated approach to complementary healthcare.

"This will enable a wider range of healthcare treatment options for consumers. The Green party sees the establishment of this committee as the first step toward integrating complementary healthcare into the existing health system," Ms Kedgley said.

"The long-term aim of the Green party is to establish health clinics around
New Zealand where registered complementary health practitioners work
alongside general practitioners and other health professionals."

Nominations for the committee were open from October 2000 to February 2001, and were sought from the traditional health sector, the complementary and alternative health sectors and other interested groups.

More than 60 nominations were received, and Mrs King said that this had enabled the appointment of very well-balanced committee in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, geography and representation from various disciplines.

"Because of diverse interests represented by the committee’s membership, the Government has appointed an independent chairperson from outside the health sector. Having an independent chairperson will improve the cohesiveness and functioning of the committee. Professor Koopman-Boyden has a background in health policy and experience on previous committees, including the role of chair of the National Committee on AIDS," Mrs King said.

Committee members have been appointed for two years and are eligible to serve for a maximum of six years. The appointments, effective from June 1, 2001, are: Peggy Koopman-Boyden, chair, Hamilton
Melva Martin, complementary/alternative health practitioner, New Plymouth
David Holden, complementary/alternative health practitioner, Auckland
James McNeill, complementary/alternative health practitioner, Napier
Dr Debbie Ryan, mainstream clinician, Pacific health representative, Auckland
Janine Randle, mainstream nurse, Christchurch
Dr Rhys Jones, Mäori health representative, Auckland
Marilyn Wright, consumer, Hastings.


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