Flatt J, ND; 1 Hahn S, PhD. 2
1 PhD Candidate. School of Health, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia
2 Senior Lecturer. School of Health and Human Sciences. Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia
Submitted: 30 August 2012
Accepted for publication: 13 November 2012
Objectives: The implementation of the 2003 Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCA) in New Zealand has enabled change from voluntary to statutory self-regulation for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) occupations. This is a development with important consequences for professional associations and their memberships. However, due to long-standing exclusion from state regulatory frameworks, in-depth understanding of the outcomes associated with such a change may be lacking. This could be particularly true for practitioners, who have historically relied on their associations to direct change processes. To explore the level of knowledge on this issue, this study examined CAM practitioner perceptions toward a shift from voluntary to statutory self-regulatory status.
Methods: A survey questionnaire exploring regulatory issues was sent to registered naturopathic and western herbal medicine practitioners within New Zealand.
Results: Responses show that sampled practitioners have a general lack of knowledge of regulatory systems and feel excluded from the process of regulatory change. Potential positives and negatives associated with such change are identified and discussed.
Conclusion: Fully informed knowledge regarding the implications of change from voluntary to statutory self-regulation is not present for naturopathic and western herbal medicine practitioners. Improved discussions regarding regulation and effective dissemination and uptake of information are required.