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We are not yet halfway through the year and already 2018 has thrown some challenges in the direction of our profession. Much of the work the board undertakes in responding to these issues is relatively unseen, as we lobby, respond, meet with and write to key stakeholders. Worse than being unseen is when misinformation is speculated or shared on social media, so I will be providing more regular updates on what the NHAA board is doing to grow awareness and understanding of what we do — not only to represent the best interests of our members, but the naturopathic and herbalist professions more broadly.
Original release 18 June 2018, UPDATED 24 June 2018
Has there been a recent change to the Scheduling of arbutin and arbutin-containing herbs?
No. The change occurred in 2010. There is a TGA administrative follow-through on previous Scheduling decisions about the chemical substance hydroquinone and related substances found in certain herbs. Arbutin is included as a cross-reference to hydroquinone in the Appendices to the Poisons Standard and is affected by this follow-up. Therefore, the TGA is correct in communicating there is ‘no change’ in the Scheduling of arbutin-containing herbs per se. What has changed, is the TGA’s follow through and further analysis on arbutin-containing herbs, such as Arctostaphylosuva-ursi folium (bearberry leaf) and Turnera diffusa folium (damiana leaf), and how they are to be captured by this rescheduling...
Australia’s oldest complementary medicine association, the NHAA, has renewed its bid for government regulation for the Naturopathic and Herbal Medicine professions.
The Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA) has long been, and continues to be, strongly in favour of regulation of the profession of naturopathy and herbal medicine through statutory registration. “The public must have confidence that when someone calls themselves a naturopath or herbal medicine practitioner” said Natalie Cook, President of the NHAA, “the education and licensing requirements exist which not only protect the public but maintain the integrity of our ethical practitioners.”
“This same level of protection is something we take for granted in many health professions like doctors and dentists, but also Chinese Medicine Practitioners. Now naturopaths and herbal medicine practitioners are renewing their call for the same type of government controlled checks and balances through statutory regulation.” Currently the professional associations take on the role of not only providing member support and services, but also that of quasi regulators. There are however many associations with differing standards and requirements and Australia’s most respected practitioners are calling for a national licencing board. Ms Cook said, “The NHAA already ensures its standards are in line with those set by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as one of many actions we hope will allow this to happen sooner than later.”
What we have seen this week, is that the current system is clearly not enough and we are calling on the Federal Health Minister to open pathways for new professions to apply to be regulated under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. The professions of Naturopathy and herbal medicine have been assessed against the requirements by previous government reviews, have been found to meet the requirements and yet remain unregistered. Naturopaths in Australia are required to complete a 4 year degree with a strong foundation in biological sciences to meet requirements for practice. However, “When someone with no recognised training in naturopathy is able to claim to be a naturopath and then be found to cause harm in doing so, the whole profession is unfairly tarnished”. The NHAA has been setting standards for the industry since 1920. Protection of title and compulsory registration of practitioners will help ensure these high standards are maintained.
Today, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced a series of reforms to private health insurance; http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2017-hunt106.htm. Included in this announcement is the proposed removal of private health insurance providing rebates for natural therapies including herbalism and naturopathy from 2019.
This announcement comes after a recent Review by the former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies.
The NHAA exists to support Western Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy practitioners and is strongly against the proposed reform. The NHAA is providing a response to the Minister for Health and is working closely with stakeholders to support a united front on this matter.
As this announcement is breaking news the NHAA is in communication with Government and stakeholders to better understand the detail of these proposed changes. We will provide further updates on this matter.
Information for Members
Upcoming Annual General Meeting
Our Board elections will take place at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 18 October 2017 at 7.30pm (AEDT). The AGM will again be conducted online via a webinar to allow more members to participate. Members have been emailed with details on how to register for this event.
Below are the results of the call for nominations to be voted on at the AGM. Click here for the Proxy Form for those members who wish to vote but cannot be present at the AGM.