Traditional Chinese medicine will be regulated by a new law

The government regulates Chinese medicine, including acupuncture.

Valentina Bellomo / Stuff

The government regulates Chinese medicine, including acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese medicine practiced in New Zealand will now be regulated by a new law which will come into force next week.

Health Minister Andrew Little made the announcement on Saturday, saying practitioners of the ancient health and wellness system, used in China for thousands of years, would be normalized from Monday.

“The government has agreed to regulate Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and tui na massage therapy,” Little said in a press release.

“Chinese Medicine is currently a self-regulated practice in New Zealand, with up to 1200 practitioners acting independently in the assessment, treatment and referral of patients, and generally operating in single practices.”

READ MORE:
* Mental health: Sharp increase in the number of children waiting more than two months for advice
* Mental health: Minister ‘extraordinarily frustrated’ as only five new acute care beds added after $1.9bn investment
* Christchurch Hospital ER hits month-long record for patient numbers

Few said that having the regulations in place would provide assurance that practitioners are properly qualified and competent to practice.

The Assurance of Competence of Health Practitioners (Designation of Chinese Medicine Services as a Health Profession) Order 2021 would see the profession become a designated health service under the Chinese Medicine Act 2003. Health Practitioner Competence Assurance (HPCA).

Health Minister Andrew Little said the new law would come into force on Monday.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Health Minister Andrew Little said the new law would come into force on Monday.

A new Council of Chinese Medicine will establish the qualifications and standards of competence that must be met to be registered as a practitioner of Chinese medicine.

“The purpose of the HPCA Act is to protect the public by providing mechanisms to ensure that healthcare practitioners are competent and fit to practice their profession,” Little said.

More than 25 different health professions are regulated under the HPCA Act, including nurses, dentists, midwives, chiropractors, osteopaths and podiatrists.

Suitably qualified candidates for membership in the new Council of Chinese Medicine are encouraged to register their interest with the Ministry of Health.