16 December 2004
Response to MACCAH report released
The Government today released its response to the report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary and Alternative Health (MACCAH). Health Minister Annette King said the MACCAH’s recommendations were generally aimed at reducing barriers to safe and appropriate use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
“MACCAH recommended that treatments proven to be safe, efficacious and cost effective should be publicly funded. While I support this recommendation in principle, I acknowledge that there is debate about what constitutes good evidence. In this context I am pleased to note the establishment in July this year of a New Zealand Centre for Evidence-Based Research into Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Otago,” Ms King said.
Some of MACCAH’s recommendations have already been implemented, such as the establishment of a risk-based regulatory framework for health practitioners under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. However, Ms King said some recommendations such as self-regulation of low-risk CAM practitioners and development of research methodologies that are appropriate for CAM treatments could only be implemented by health practitioners and researchers themselves.
Ms King said the Ministry of Health's complementary and alternative medicine website was a vital part of providing consumers with reliable information. Ongoing funding of the website was recommended by the Committee. The website summarises existing research on the safety of various CAM treatments and how well they work.
A CAM summit, organised by the National Health Committee, was held in November as an opportunity for mainstream and CAM sector representatives to discuss how the two sectors can work together in the future to improve the health of New Zealanders.