Yes them’s fightin’ words. It’s 6 days til Christmas and we’ve all got way too many things to do before Santa visits, right? But this will take you 1 minute and takes precedence over finding excuses not to attend Christmas parties, half-crazed-mad present buying, watching Love Actually….again and building tension with loved ones in preparation for the big day/fight.  I joke but I am serious.  I don’t know how you feel about the proposed PHI reforms which are due to come into effect from the 1st April, removing Naturopathy & Herbal Medicine as modalities that can be covered by Private Health Insurance, but in the least amount of words, here are mine:

For me, the financial impact on patients and secondarily on me, is not my primary concern.  Our profession represents a significant proportion of the health workforce in Australia and according to 2005 data, a form of healthcare that 69% of Australians engaged with, and according to Wardle & Adams research, often as primary healthcare providers.  We provide such an important service, the public knows this better than any political party, and they will continue to come through our clinic door, seeking the kind of quality care we can offer.

No, what really concerns me about this (among other things) is the marginalisation of my profession, my colleagues and by virtue of this, the implied message to both patients and other healthcare professionals alike, that we are not active contributors to the improved health and wellbeing of a substantial proportion of the population…and as a further extension of this – we should not be part of ‘the conversation’.  It is yet another step backwards away from any shared care or integrative model that truly puts patient outcomes first or that recognises the importance of an individual’s right to choose in regard to their healthcare.

Now the NHAA have created a petition that is going straight to the health minister, Greg Hunt.  Their focus is a little different from mine – about the  potential for more ‘fake naturopaths’ to hang up a shingle post PHI reform and therefore increase public risk.  This is not my major beef and it may not be yours IT DOESN’T MATTER.  We need to all sign this petition – naturopaths, herbalists, nutritionists, integrative doctors and healthcare providers of every persuasion.

Just my thoughts…what are yours?

PS It doesn’t matter if this is your association or not…let’s all sign it...& get some groundswell going