The NHMRC ruled 17 Natural Modalities as NOT effective.* (2015)
The Government, on advice by the NHMRC has cut Private Health Insurance rebates for Natural Therapies on the 1. April 2019 - NO .. that's NOT an April Fools Prank.
*National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) NHMRC has failed to evaluate Natural Therapy Modalities for its Active Prevention of LIfestyle Diseases.
NOTE: UseNature is urging the Government and related policy bodies to re-evaluate Natural Therapies for their "Active Preventative Holistic Therapy Role", and further more, for the government to create policies to further develop Active Prevention, by subsidising activities and education to enhance "Positive Preventative Lifestyle Choices".
*Promoting Active Prevention, which means, a person has to perform a lifestyle changing action, by either including or excluding lifestyle habits.
The Government has just announced, it will commission an updated review for the Natural Therapies effected by the former NHMRC ruling.
I am delighted about this announcement, however I can't help it to be a bit cynical.
The backlash against this ruling, which did fly in the face of everyone who is using Natural Therapies, certainly had a profound effect.
What does this all mean?
First the obvious matter, we have an election coming up (cynical part of the article), has this review been announced because of the enormous backlash against that ruling and therefore the Liberal Party (not that Labour has anything better on offer) ? - Or, is it possible that it has been recognised that Natural Therapies offer indeed essential health services, particular at a time of increasing Lifestyle Diseases, which certainly are preventable by changing lifestyle habits.
Is it possible that finally it has dawned on government and medical bodies that "Each Natural Therapy Modality" has special attributes for supporting "Individual patients" in their personal pursuits for complete physical, mental and social well-being! ?
I am not holding my breath, particularly if one can see that the advisory panel will include "consumer representatives, and experts in private health insurance, medicine, and allied health".
By experience, I will suggest there could be some solid bias against Natural Therapy, which will not be balanced by some (How many?) Natural Medicine Experts.
The review will also utilise the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) yet again, they are experts for medical research, but certainly show a biased or misunderstanding for Natural Therapies. Their first review was issued using limited selected evidence in regards to Natural Treatment, which absolutely neglected to consider Natural Therapies Active Preventative benefits and services.
The first review was carried out by chief medical officer, Professor Chris Baggoley, the next review will be overseen by Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy.
I never can understand how Chief Medical Officers can possibly be unbiased. Everything they will investigate will be based on medical evidence criteria, which obviously is important for prescription drugs or surgical intervention aimed against diseasse, but will makeno sense for Naturopathy or any of the other 16 Natural Therapy modalities.
Natural Therapy does not fight a disease; instead it "treats to support" an individual person's ability to improve health.
While medical randomised control trials are important, they are NOT the best paradigm to validate the holistic and individual targeted Natural Treatments.
By the way, here is a good idea, Independent MP Dr. Kerryn Phelps is urging the government to reverse its ban while the review is undertaken, yes please.
Extra mention needs to be made regarding The Your Health Your Choice consumer campaign, 13,323 Australians personally wrote to Minister Hunt and LNP MPs and Senators, and over 100000 people signed the petition.
In addition there have been many other consumer campaigns, including useNature's support, providing information as well as calling for action to contact a local member.
In yet another petition, it has been questioned if the NHMRC has the ability to ethically review any natural therapy.
Around 110,000 people have signed a Senate petition calling for an inquiry into bias and scientific misconduct conducted by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) between 2012 and 2014.
This newly announced review will start this year, with the final report due in 2020.
That is the big question, however even if some modalities are reinstated into the private health funds, it is still not the ideal solution for a better Health Care System.
The new renew may even be hi-jacked by specific interest groups, favouring one Natural Therapy over another, failing to see the combined benefits of all modalities.
Ultimately, I favour the Indian System of AYUSH, creating a separate Government department for Natural Medicine, monitored by Natural Therapy Experts.
Anyhow, we will have to wait for a least one year, therefore MP Dr. Kerryn Phelps's suggestion would be rather welcome.
* Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.