Media Release: Chinese Medicine and National Registration



In response to recent articles: Does traditional Chinese medicine have a place in the health care system? written by Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) co-founder Marcello Costa and Chinese Paradox co-authored by FSM’s Costa and Hubertus Jersmann, AACMA believes FSM is continuing on their witch hunt of the complementary medicine profession, including Chinese medicine.

From July 2012, the Chinese medicine profession will be part of the National Registration Scheme, a step that the FSM group have slammed. The purpose of National Registration is protection of the public. Other benefits include improved standards of the education, practice and a rigorous complaint system for the public.

Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) agreed more than 15 years ago that Victoria would take the national lead in developing template legislation for the registration of acupuncturists, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners and Chinese herbal dispensers under the banner of Chinese medicine. Registration of the Chinese medicine profession has now been in place in Victoria for over ten years and the sky has not fallen in.

AACMA believes FSM are trying to stifle the debate, trivialise the issues, denigrate the profession, mislead the public and crush any other views on healthcare. Plus their claims regarding lack of evidence is ridiculous.

‘It’s really an issue about medical dominance,’ AACMA CEO Judy James said.

‘Yes, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a different approach from Western medicine to the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of health conditions. But this does not make it wrong. Our members work in collaboration with many other health practitioners, including medical doctors, in the interests of patient health and safety. Registration will assist in formalising relationships between Chinese medicine practitioners and other registered health professionals. This can only be good for the public,’ Ms James said.

‘We are surprised that eminent people are taking what we see as a narrow and small minded approach to this debate. We see it as misguided attempts to remove choice from the Australian community.’

‘It’s interesting that the latest activity from this group aligns with the release of draft standards for determining which medical practitioners can use the title ‘acupuncturist’, Ms James said. ‘This makes a total joke of the standards for acupuncture to apply to medical doctors and demonstrates the double standards being applied.’

AACMA requires new members to have completed a four to five year approved bachelor degree program in acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine, or equivalent overseas program, if they are to join the peak body for the profession without examination. These programs are offered in the university sector or must have ministerial approval if offered in the private sector.

Under the Medical Board of Australia’s draft standards for medical doctors to use the title ‘acupuncturist', a medical doctor needs to have only provided 25 acupuncture treatments under Medicare over two years, plus have attended a few seminars. There is currently no requirement for a medical practitioner to be actually qualified in acupuncture in order for the Medicare claim to be paid. We believe this standard will result in further rorts under the public health system as doctors with no background in acupuncture seek to get their 25 Medicare funded treatments completed before 30 June 2012.

In response to recent media attention regarding the FSM campaign, Ms James said ‘Rather than providing biased coverage focussing on the views of those attempting to destroy quality education and appropriate regulation of the Chinese medicine profession, why has there been scant reporting and examination of the standards of training in acupuncture being proposed for Medicare? This represents a far greater public health risk and has a direct and uncontrollable impact on the costs of Medicare.’


Links to articles mentioned in Media Release:
Does traditional Chinese medicine have a place in the health care system?
Chinese Paradox

Media enquiries
Julia Starkey - Publications & Promotions Administrator
Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd
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Posted on 4/16/2012 12:42:48 PM

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