Continued Mandates For Chiropractic Unjust And Unjustified Says NZCA

Published: Tue 29 Mar 2022 11:45 AM
The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) is calling on the Government to end COVID-19 mandates for private primary healthcare practices calling the continuing restrictions unjust and unjustified now that the Omicron variant is at large in the community.
The peak body for chiropractic in New Zealand says that private primary health providers, such as chiropractors, rely on face-to-face consultations and fee-based income to survive. Prolonged restrictions on the delivery of healthcare are critically affecting the viability of many businesses and leaving thousands of New Zealanders without an option for healthcare in their communities.
In a letter to the Ministry of Health, NZCA President Dr Hayden Thomas, chiropractor says: `My members and their patients have suffered unduly from extended restrictions over the past two years with lockdowns significantly preventing access to care. This ongoing situation is becoming untenable. I believe it is wrong to discriminate against private businesses in this way, especially when those practitioners are more than equipped to manage their clients' safety through infection protection and control procedures.’
Dr Thomas explains: `A typical chiropractic consultation is around 15 minutes duration, in a well-controlled clinical setting, of which most of the time is spent face down. Many other aspects of the setting can be managed to minimise contact time and interaction with staff and others. Of course, surveillance Rapid Antigen Testing can form part of the risk management strategy. The section of the population we see is no different from those going to a hairdresser, where there is far less awareness of infection screening or control, and far more time spent in close quarters.
‘To continue to restrict these private community health enterprises from operating and to prevent them from caring for their communities, or from contributing to the productivity of the economy, seems irrational and unwarranted.’
Dr Thomas points out that the Ministry of Health restrictions are particularly hard on allied health businesses that depend on face-to-face interactions and are paid out of pocket fees by the public. They are highly trained health professionals who have excellent knowledge and ability to screen for COVID symptoms, practice infection control and appropriate PPE use, and have exceptional contact tracing information built into their patient management systems already.
Dr Thomas says: `Chiropractors are regulated primary health care professionals registered under the HPCA Act with close to 700 annual practising certificate holders practising in solo, group, and multidisciplinary clinics around New Zealand. New Zealand chiropractors have significant training (a minimum 5-year tertiary degree) and a broad yet highly skilled scope of practise and clinical expertise. They provide
care for the public in a wide range of health concerns, including spinal problems, posture, certain neurological issues and chronic pain. Importantly, particularly with the heightened levels of mental health concerns being seen this year, chiropractors help many people with anxiety, sleeping difficulties and stress related disorders through their ability to assist the nervous system.
New Zealand’s chiropractors are taking the lead to inform, and inspire people to improve their health and prevent pain and disability by educating the public to have a greater understanding of the relationship between their spine and nervous system and how this affects their function and overall wellbeing.
At a time when people are dealing with significant stress and different health concerns, now more than ever we need to ensure the public has access to all health care services when they need it.

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