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Alternative health information available to all

Green initiative makes alternative health information available to all

A Green Party Budget initiative to provide the public with information about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has resulted in the launch of a new web-site by the Ministry of Health.

In 2002 the Green Party successfully negotiated funding for an on line searchable database on complementary medicine.

The site - http://www.cam.org.nz - has just been launched. It has been developed by New Zealand Health Technology Assessment and will be built up over time to provide a wide range of information on the safety and efficacy of CAM treatments.

"More than one in every four New Zealanders either goes to a CAM practitioner every year or uses complementary or alternative medicines they've either bought or grown," said Sue Kedgley, the Green Party Health spokesperson.

"With so many people now exploring their medical options, it is important that information about CAM treatments is freely and quickly available."

Ms Kedgley said the website is aimed at consumers who are interested in complementary and alternative medicines, to give them easily accessible information on different complementary healthcare options, including information on the benefits and risks of complementary healthcare.

"It will improve New Zealanders access to the extensive amount of research that is undertaken overseas on complementary medicine," Ms Kedgley said. "It will also be a valuable tool in helping people take responsibility for their own health, and weighing up treatment options."

Ms Kedgley said the website was a useful step in the process of integrating complementary healthcare into mainstream healthcare.

"Ultimately we would like to see registered complementary healthcare professionals recognised in our health system, working in Primary Healthcare organisations and in our hospitals alongside conventional medical practitioners, offering complementary treatments where these are appropriate and effective," said Ms Kedgley.

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