In light of the recent cuts to health care in this country, I signed a petition against the exclusion of complimentary therapies in private health cover. I received a response from my local federal member, Trevor Evans and I wanted to share my response with you here.
I know a lot of you are disappointed that you cannot get health rebates for my services, so the further exclusion of complimentary therapies is of great concern to me, because if you can’t afford to see me, how am I supposed to help you?
If you would like a copy of Trevor’s original email, I’d be happy to forward it to you, but for now, here is my response:
Thanks for taking the time to reply to this letter, I appreciate it.
As a nutritional medicine practitioner, my concern with the lack of governmental support for complimentary medicines is that because the government isn’t willing to provide such financial help, those with lower income are less likely to afford services that can prevent so many of the illnesses currently burdening the health care system. It is widely shown that diet and lifestyle alone can make huge difference for the prevention and treatment of conditions such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, mental health disorders, diabetes, cancer, obesity, dementia, allergies, IBS, arthritis, etc, and when coupled with complementary therapies, that preventative effect is incredibly enhanced.
My struggle is a practitioner is that so many people I speak to struggle to afford my services (which are some of the cheapest in my industry), let alone the comprehensive testing and supplementation that goes along with it. With governmental support, complementary therapists would be able to improve the health of so many more people from a wider range of income streams, which would reduce the incidence and severity of illnesses I listed above, saving the government money in the long term. The last thing any practitioner (complementary or otherwise) wants is for their client to undergo surgery for a condition that could have been treated through the support of complementary medicines.
Nutritional medicine practitioners, naturopaths and the like provide one-on-one care that our GPs aren’t able to provide. We individualise our treatments, giving diet and lifestyle changes that suit a person where they’re at; their health status, their budget, their lifestyle. We spend between 30 and 90 minutes with our clients at a time and often are available for advice via email outside of these consultations. The way we practise is patient-centred care, always.
When our government isn’t willing to support medicine that not only provides essential support for so many individuals, but can improve the health of our population as a whole for the long term, I question what their motives are. I truly believe that by making complimentary therapies widely available for everyone it can not only improve our health and reduce the cost of surgeries and medications for our Medicare system, it could support small business and the purchases of locally produced, high quality supplements (keeping more of our money in the country), it could regulate the complementary medicine system to weed out so-called “witch doctors” who are often unqualified and unregistered, causing harm to vulnerable people (and our industry as a whole), and it could improve the basic skills and knowledge of growing our own vegetables, cooking and regular exercise to the whole community.
All I really want as a practitioner is to empower my clients to live the best life that I can, and I haven’t met a single complimentary therapist that I couldn’t say the same thing about them. We are all here to compliment the medical system; to prevent diseases created and worsened by diet and lifestyle choices, to support the body’s healing while pharmaceutical drugs have been prescribed, to provide support for the body, mind and spirit of every client (which provides a support system for those without one and keeps them accountable to their goals), and to educate and empower each person to understand and take control of their own health.
These are the reasons I signed this petition, in hopes that more of our representatives would understand why and how government support could bring so much good to our wider community and to our country as a whole. Complimentary medicines are still widely misunderstood in Australia, and seen as secondary to the conventional medical system, where really, if we had the support to work together in the complimentary manner we know is possible, the health of every Australian would benefit.
Nutritional Medicine Practitioner