Chinese medicine to be formally regulated

New Zealanders consulting practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine can be sure they are properly trained and registered, thanks to a new law coming into force on Monday, Health Minister Andrew Little says.

“The Government has agreed to regulate Chinese medicine including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and tui na massage therapy,” Andrew Little said.

“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.

“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.”

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (Designation of Chinese Medicine Services as Health Profession) Order 2021 sees Chinese medicine regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003 from November 1.

“The purpose of the HPCA Act is to protect the public by providing mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions,” Andrew Little said.

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

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.

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