Health Minister Andrew Little announced new regulations for Chinese medicine including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and tui na massage therapy came into force yesterday.
“Chinese medicine is currently a self-regulating practice in New Zealand, with up to 1200 practitioners who act independently in assessing, treating and referring patients, and usually operate in sole practices,’’ Mr Little said.
“Public and sector consultation supported the regulation of Chinese medicine. Putting this regulation in place will provide assurance that practitioners are appropriately qualified and competent to practice.”
Acme Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Clinic acupuncturist Hong Wang, of Dunedin, was pleased with the change, saying the industry had been calling for regulation for years to ensure the quality of treatments.
‘‘This is really good news,’’ he said.
‘‘It will protect our clients and our practitioners.’’
Under the new legislation, Chinese medicine will now be regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003.
“More than 25 different health professions are regulated under the HPCA Act, including nurses, dentists, midwives, chiropractors, osteopaths and podiatrists,’’ Mr Little said.
The Chinese Medicine Council will establish the qualifications and competency standards that will need to be met to be registered as a practitioner of Chinese medicine.