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End Private Healthcare Worker Covid Mandates Now

The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) is again calling for the government to end COVID-19 mandates for private primary healthcare practices, as the continuing restrictions are unjust and unsubstantiated now that the Omicron variant is at large in the community. 

The NZCA executive has repeatedly written to the Ministry of Health, the Chief of Allied Health, as well as issued multiple press releases this year as further data has emerged regarding the transmission and the ability to contract new variants across all populations.

The peak body for chiropractic in New Zealand says that private primary health providers, such as chiropractors, rely on face-to-face consultations and fee-based income to survive. Prolonged restrictions on the delivery of healthcare are critically affecting the viability of many small businesses and leaving thousands of New Zealanders without an option for healthcare in their communities.

NZCA spokesperson Dr Cassandra Fairest, chiropractor, says ‘We have a significant number of chiropractors affected by the mandate. This is putting unnecessary stress on the health system and disrupting the provision of healthcare in our communities. The hospitals are overrun and have enormous wait times. We need all available allied healthcare professionals caring for people and keeping them out of the hospital system’. 
The ongoing healthcare COVID-19 vaccination mandate is affecting numerous healthcare professions, leading to significant shortages to a healthcare workforce that was already stretched.

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This issue was highlighted in the NZIER-commissioned (New Zealand Institute of Economic Research) Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand 2019 “Hidden in Plain Sight'' report ( about the over-reliance on GP’s, nurses and the secondary health system and the under-utilisation of services such as chiropractors and allied health professions who could alleviate pressure at the bottom of the cliff by providing the fence at the top. 

Allied health practitioners represent a ready-workforce able to support a shift to more effective and more proactive prevention, person-centred care, and collaborative, interdisciplinary team-based approaches that are most appropriate for people with complex health issues including long-term conditions. 

With experience working in multi-disciplinary teams and across the secondary and primary care sectors, many allied health practitioners are also uniquely experienced in supporting patient transitions between settings of care, a critical strength that can support greater coordination and continuity in patient journeys. 

Dr Cassandra Fairest says: ‘Chiropractors are highly trained healthcare professionals and are able to undertake infection prevention and control strategies. We have relatively short appointment times, easy contact traceability and the ability to screen our patients for infection risk. Certainly, we pose no greater risk of infection transmission than teachers or hairdressers who have had their mandates lifted. We see that the ACT and National parties, nurses and midwives are also all calling for an end to these mandates, and we fully support this.’

Chiropractors are regulated primary health care professionals registered under the HPCA Act with close to 700 annual practising certificate holders practising in solo, group, and multidisciplinary clinics around New Zealand. New Zealand chiropractors have significant training (a minimum 5-year tertiary degree) and a broad yet highly skilled scope of practice and clinical expertise. They provide care for the public in a wide range of health concerns, including spinal problems, posture, certain neurological issues and chronic pain. Importantly, particularly with the heightened levels of mental health concerns being seen this year, chiropractors help many people with anxiety, sleeping difficulties and stress related disorders through their ability to assist the nervous system. 
New Zealand’s chiropractors are taking the lead to inform and inspire people to improve their health and prevent pain and disability by educating the public to have a greater understanding of the relationship between their spine and nervous system and how this affects their function and overall well-being.

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