Australian Healthcare: Do you have the right to choose?05 Dec
2017 Tagged as
Posted by Evolve College News
Last week, in Part 1 of this series, we looked at the fact that the Government has announced that remedial massage remains on the rebate list for natural therapies under private health insurance (PHI). We commend the Government on this decision.
However, in light of the pressure which has been applied to natural therapies and complementary health-care over the past few years in particular, it would be naïve of us or any pockets of the industry to think that natural therapies, or massage, are out of the woods in this regard. It is for this reason that there is no assurance that the decision announced by the Government is permanent or that either massage, or natural therapies in general, will permanently remain on the list of therapies for which a PHI rebate may be claimed.
This goes alongside wider movements in relation to natural therapies or complementary health-care as a whole. We offer this not as a doomsday-statement but as a reasoned view having followed with great interest and keen observation developments in relation to reviews and other considerations of natural therapies and complementary health-care over the past few years.
Evidence of massage
First, in direct response to the Government’s statement as to the Natural Therapies Review Committee’s conclusion that it found massage to have “moderate quality evidence of clinical efficacy”, we draw attention to the extensive research which has been conducted into massage therapy over numerous years. Selected snippets of this were shared in a series of articles on massage and research which was published by Evolve College in late 2016. Association of Massage Therapists (AMT) has also published a report on massage and research, collating together reference to a significant extent of research which has been conducted into the benefits of massage. Evolve College considers that the reference to “moderate quality evidence of clinical efficacy” is an understatement and undervalues the benefits which massage brings and has been found to bring through an extensive body of research.
The bigger picture
However, there is more to it than this. The debate in relation to evidence based and the pros and cons of various types of health-care has been with us for some time. For this reason, every time a review is undertaken or a report is released it is very important that the true importance of complementary health-care be considered and the vital role of choice in health-care is a key factor in all reviews and reports.
In this series of Studymassage News articles, we explore why that is the case. Of particular significance is the Productivity Commission’s Productivity Review 2017, which singled out natural therapies in its report, and recommended to the government that all natural therapies be removed from the private health insurance government rebate list.
No action in this regard has as yet been taken and, for now, as we know, the government has reported to AMT that massage remains on the PHI rebate list. However, the conclusion of the Productivity Review report remains. If this is accepted by the government – at any time in the future, it will mean that there could be no or reduced government rebate on natural therapies. Evolve College notes that, after the history of attempts and movement to reduce the applicability and freedom of natural therapies and complementary health-care, we as an industry need to take the statement that remedial massage is retained on the rebate list as meaning a statement by the Government as to the present time (and perhaps short term), and not a promise as to the future.
In the up-coming part of this series, we examine particular actions, reviews and reports which have had the effect of adding to the footprint that threatens natural therapies or complementary health-care, and why this is a topic of significant importance to the public at large.