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Greens want support for complementary healthcare

Greens want support for complementary healthcare

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling for complementary healthcare practitioners to be integrated into the health system, in line with the recommendations of a major report into complementary and alternative medicine in New Zealand.

The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary and Alternative Health (MACCAH), which was established as a result of a Green Party budget initiative, has spent three years considering how to better recognise, regulate and integrate complementary health practitioners.

Ms Kedgley said she strongly supported the report’s recommendations, in particular that safe, cost effective complementary healthcare treatments be publicly funded, and a Unit set up within the Ministry of Health, tasked with taking steps to integrate complementary and mainstream healthcare.

“The Green Party wants to see registered complementary healthcare practitioners recognised in our health system,” said Ms Kedgley. “They should be working in Primary Healthcare Organisations (PHO’s) and in our hospitals, offering complementary treatments where these are appropriate and effective.”

Ms Kedgley said consumer demand for complementary healthcare is growing rapidly and it was time for government and the healthcare establishment to recognise it.

“We need to leave behind the narrow mindset that says orthodox Western medicine is the only effective way of treating illness. It’s time to acknowledge that there are other healing practices which are effective in preventing disease and treating some illnesses in a low-tech, cost effective way.

“We need a more holistic, and nutrition-focussed health system,” said Ms Kedgley. “I hope low-tech, cost-effective complementary healthcare will improve our overall health, reduce our dependence on prescription drugs, and shift our emphasis towards preventing rather than just treating illness.

“The upcoming Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) summit will give an excellent opportunity for mainstream and CAM sector representatives to discuss opportunities to work together in the future.”

Ms Kedgley also supported the report’s recommendation that ‘high-risk’ practitioners like acupuncturists be regulated by law, while low-risk groups continue to be self regulated through their professional organisations.

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