Many of you who read this blog will have either consulted me as a patient for complementary health care using nutritional and or herbal medicine, or follow it because you use complementary medicine as part of maintaining your health and wellbeing and are keen to stay abreast of how to live an optimally healthy life.
Well what would you say if I told you that your right to access complementary medicine and practitioners was under grave threat because of a proposed new government legislation that would see your freedom of choice in health care options taken away from you?
Would the loss of access to complementary health practitioners and medicines jeopardise your health in any way?
If you’re like me and millions of others, complementary medicine may have helped you to over-come, or better manage, debilitating diseases and health conditions, that modern pharmaceutical medicine has failed to alleviate, and in some cases even exacerbated. ( You may recall the story of Fred and his recovery from chronic anxiety, combining diet and nutritional medicine). At the very least, complementary medicine and practitioners have enabled up to 60% of the Australian population, (half of which use Natural Medicines for chronic health conditions), to take a preventative approach to their health, in reducing the risk for developing illness and disease. This in itself saves the Australian Government billions of dollars annually, as the general public overwhelmingly fund these Natural treatments out of their own pocket as well as reducing the burden on the already overwhelmed government hospital and health system.
Before becoming a Clinical Nutritionist, I suffered not one but three chronic and supposedly ‘incurable’ conditions in the form of Lupus, Hashimoto’s and a pituitary adenoma, after suffering chronic fatigue syndrome, induced by glandular fever. Even worse was the fact the auto immune disease Lupus, was induced after being prescribed 14 courses of antibiotics and penicillin in a 12 mth period, by medical doctors. Their only known treatment option, was pharmaceutical medications and none of them worked to heal my body, but rather made me sicker. At the time, I was of the opinion that because I was under the care of medical Dr’s and renowned professors, they should be competent in prescribing the medical treatment they did and modern medicine should be safe and effective in treating illness…..right?
Well as I have experienced along with millions of other people around the world, modern pharmaceutical medicine and Dr’s don’t always have the answers or ability to treat the underlying cause of many chronic health conditions and diseases. In fact many pharmaceutical drugs can even induce if not exacerbate various health conditions and diseases as I experienced firsthand. This is where nutritional and herbal medicine and practitioners come into play with our healthcare system.
But in an effort to ‘clean up the industry’ and ‘protect the public’ the Australian TGA – Therapeutic Goods Administration – a division of the Australian Department of Health and Ageing have been lobbied by certain individuals and the pharmaceutical industry, to pass new legislation that will damage the complementary medicine industry and ultimately categorise naturopaths, herbalists and homeopaths as “general public” from July 2014. If allowed to pass, these new regulations will leave CM practitioners unable to prescribe complementary medicine’s, or receive educational material, essential for their ‘ongoing education’, to stay abreast of new research findings to better treat their patients. This will mean only practitioners recognised by the NRAS, such as dentists, optometrists, medical Dr’s and nurses will be deemed competent to prescribe complementary medicine to advise consumers about herbal medicine and nutrition. Considering none of the practitioners included in the NRAS undertake any formal training in nutritional or herbal medicine in their university training, it is misleading to the public and preposterous to provide them with the responsibility of prescribing these medicines to patients.
What this means for YOU if these regulations are allowed to pass, is the restriction of or even inability to access complementary medicine’s and qualified practitioners. So if you value the integral role complementary medicine’s and practitioners make to your health and want to protect your right access and choose your preferred form of healthcare, then I am calling on you to join the complementary medicine industry in fighting the TGA’s proposed new regulations and protect the industry’s credibility and professionalism, by submitting an objection to proposed changes.
What can you to STOP the proposed TGA regulations from being passed?
1. Read the full consultation paper to understand how these changes will affect you. Download it here.
2. Have your say! Write to the TGA to express your objection around the proposals that specifically affect you and convey your experiences with using both complementary health practitioners and herbal and nutritional medicines to benefit your health.
3.Highlight your support to “Maintain the current system” and your opposition to “Only recognise health practitioners regulated under the Health Professionals Regulation National Law”. which does not currently include naturopaths, herbalists or homeopaths.
4. Lodge your submission here by 19 July 2013. Refer to information under “Content of submissions” and “How to respond” for instructions on how to lodge your submission.
5. Contact your local Federal Members of parliament and express your concerns – we can speak louder with one voice and if we do not act NOW then the readily available healthcare options we now enjoy could be lost and we will only be left with pharmaceutical treatment options.
6. Sign the petition here before the 12th July 2013
And have your say in protecting your right to choose your healthcare options and stop government control and parties with a conflict of interest restricting your access to nutritional an herbal medicine.
I also urge you to share this post on your facebook page or twitter account to increase consumer awareness to this vital issue.
Til my next post, eat well and feel good everyday.