From the president.
|Publication:||Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2007 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330|
|Issue:||Date: Summer, 2007 Source Volume: 19 Source Issue: 2|
|Topic:||Event Code: 360 Services information|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia|
The end of the financial year is rolling around which marks the halfway point of the year with only three months to the event of the herbal year:-
NHAA 6th International Conference on Phytotherapeutics
The planning for this year's conference is well underway with topics ranging from cancer to wound healing with many other subjects to be covered along the way by an impressive array of speakers from around the globe. I know it's a cliche, but it really is an event not to be missed. Apart from the knowledge to be gained from the speakers it is an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends, network with new ones and catch up on the latest products and literature at the large trade display area. Above all, it will be fun. I look forward to seeing you there.
An issue never far from the minds of the Board is that of registration
for the profession. You will recall in my last report I mentioned the La Trobe report and how it had been pushed to a subcommittee of the National Heath Minister's Advisory Council (NHMAC) to be actioned in the fullness of time. The Board believes this may cause the report to disappear entirely unless we, as a profession, do something to keep it in the sight of our political masters.
As a result of this the Board is declaring 1st August 2007 as Contact-a-Pollie-Day.
What we are asking of our membership is to make a concerted effort to write, email or telephone the Federal Health Minister, your State Health Minister, your local MPs (State and Federal) and all the opposition spokespeople on health that you can reach on Wednesday 1st August. Please ask your clients to do the same thing.
We are asking you to write or make a call in your own words as a pro forma letter will be treated in the same way as a petition and not have as much weight as a series of letters from concerned citizens. The letter should stress your concern over the inaction of governments to act on the recommendations made in several reports that the professions of Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine be regulated. You could start a letter with something like this.
1. The public is using the services of Herbalists and Naturopaths in ever increasing numbers and they want registration.
2. The public has a right to be protected from charlatans and the poorly trained.
3. Every report on the profession has strongly recommended a form of statutory regulation (La Trobe University and Expert Committee reports are notable standouts).
Finish the letter with a call to action such as "I ask that you bring this matter to the attention of the relevant Minister as a matter of urgency" or "I ask you to act on this as a matter of urgency".
If enough people take the time to do this, politicians will have to take notice and act because they are servants of the public and particularly servants of public opinion.
We have chosen August to do this as it is close to the time the Federal Election is due and enough letters may turn this issue into an election issue and get the result we are after.
It is important this happens en masse. Anything less will be ineffectual so please if you care about your profession and its future, take the time to communicate with the pollies. It is important we make the politicians aware of the depth of feeling in the community about this issue and give them a reason to act. See Access for more details. I hope I will be able to give a positive report on the results of this campaign to the members at the Annual General Meeting to be held at the International Conference in September.
As a final appeal let me say this: It is your conference and the future of your profession, please get involved in both as a matter of priority.
I am happy to report a positive result on another issue. I acted on several complaints from members about the practice of associates of multilevel marketing organisations arranging appointments to see practitioners as a client and then launching into a sales spiel for their particular product. In response to these complaints I wrote to Mr Bill Duncan, Chairman of the Direct Selling Association of Australia (DSAA) outlining the situation and saying we are recommending our members do two things when receiving a booking. These are:
1) inform all callers of consultation fees at the time of an appointment being booked, and
2) insist on payment for appointments booked for 'sales' meetings without prior explanation.
Mr Duncan called me in response to my letter and agreed the situation of booking time with health professionals for sales purposes without being upfront about their purpose is untenable. He agreed you are well within your rights to insist on payment if this situation occurs.
As Chairman of the DSAA he will be bringing this issue to the attention of all member companies of the association, which includes most of the multilevel companies complained about. I asked him to put his response in writing so I could share it with NHAA members and he has agreed to this request. When I receive his letter I will have it published in Access for your information.
On another topic, the Board held a discussion on member services at its meeting in March and many ideas were floated on ways we could better serve our members. Presently many of the things we offer include the following.
* Recognition of professional status by Government agencies (GST exemption)
* Health fund recognition and registration
* Full member referrals
* Web based discussion forums
* Library services
* New practitioner mentoring program
* Quarterly Journal and newsletter
* Access to unbiased information based seminars and conferences
* Representation at all levels of government and industry
As an association we exist to serve our members. If there are services other than those listed that you need, we would like to hear about them. I cannot promise we have the resources to act on all suggestions but I can promise all suggestions will be considered and acted on if the resources and staff are available.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the conference!
PO Box 45, Concord West NSW 2138
See inside this Journal for exciting details on our 6th International Conference of Phytotherapeutics
Dear (name of MP or Minister), I am writing to express my concern over continued government inaction in regard to the issue of regulation of natural therapists....
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