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Complementary health response disappoints Kedgley


Complementary health response disappoints Kedgley

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says Minister of Health Annette King’s response to recommendations from the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary Medicine (MACCAH) is deeply disappointing.

“Consumer demand for complementary healthcare is growing rapidly, with around 60% of the population using it,” Ms Kedgley said. “It is astonishing therefore that the government is refusing to provide leadership or support to help integrate complementary healthcare into the New Zealand health system.”

“Low tech, cost-effective complementary healthcare can improve the overall health of New Zealanders, reduce our dependence on prescription drugs and help shift our emphasis towards preventing, rather than just treating, illness.

“Yet there are no staff in the 100-strong Ministry of Health working on complementary therapies, and complementary healthcare practitioners are completely shut out of decision-making in health. It’s bitterly disappointing that the Government has even rejected a MACCAH recommendation to set up a Complementary Health Unit within the Ministry of Health.”

Ms Kedgley said while the Minister says she supports ‘in principle’ the recommendation that complementary treatments proven to be safe, efficacious and cost effective should be publicly funded, she offers no concrete support for the sector at all.

“The only concrete response from the Minister is an agreement to continue funding a Complementary Medicine Database and website, and to include complementary healthcare treatments in tool kits for the New Zealand Health Strategy priority areas - whatever that means.

“Basically the Minister washes her hands of the entire sector and points to the establishment of a New Zealand Centre for Evidence Based Research into Complementary Medicine at the University of Otago as if that is all that is needed to assist and support the sector.

“The Minister cannot hope to improve the health of all New Zealanders if she is not prepared to support cost effective therapies like acupuncture, naturopathy and Chinese medicine which have proven effective in improving people’s health and treating many common illnesses.”


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