Since December 2004, the acupuncture profession has worked together to ensure the recognition of acupuncture as a health profession under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003.
NZASA took a leading role in negotiations with the Government. NZASA's Policy Advisor Dr Graeme Campbell was invited by the 14 professional acupuncture bodies to lead the discussions. He wrote and submitted the acupuncture professions' successful joint application to the Ministry of Health (MOH).
In 2007 this recognition was awarded by the Minister of Health.
In May 2010, however, the acupuncture profession, along with six other professions, was advised that it must re-apply for recognition under the HPCA Act using the new and revised criteria.
As a result of consultations with other professional acupuncture groups and feedback from the NZASA membership, it was agreed to lodge an Application with the Ministry of Health (MOH) for the recognition of Chinese Medicine (acupuncture & herbal medicine).
The application was lodged on the 17th September 2010 on behalf of NZASA and its affiliated groups. A 2nd application supporting the recognition of Chinese Medicine was also lodged.
Submissions were called for by the Ministry of Health in July 2011 regarding the application for regulation of Chinese Medicine.
Thirty five (35) submissions were received by the Ministry, and these are currently being analysed by the MOH which will then make a recommendation to the Minister regarding the regulation of Chinese Medicine.
In November 2011 NZASA was advised that no decision about regulation would be made that year, and further information has been called for regarding blended authorities. The Minister has clearly stated that no new Boards/Councils will be established, and therefore Chinese Medicine must be blended into an existing HPCA registration Board or Council.
This means that a current HPCA Board/Council will have to agree to host Chinese Medicine. This agreement will form part of the advice given to the Minister of Health.
Once the Ministry has completed its processes, the final decision regarding regulation is in the hands of the Minister of Health, regardless of the advice and recommendation from the Ministry of Health team.
NZASA continues to liaise with the MOH and represent it members’ interests. Updates are regularly provided to the membership.