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Support Chinese Medicinal Practitioners
Petition Background (Preamble):
We request a review of the standard supporting Chinese Medicinal practitioners who speak English as their second language and have been successfully been practicing Chinese Medicine for many years. This service is a great benefit to the Australian Community.
We have been informed the Chinese medicinal practitioners who speak English as a second language are being disadvantaged in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS), which requires passing a stringent English test as a condition of general registration (see Chinese Medical Board of Australia - English language skills registration standard).
It seems that applying a compulsory and arbitrary English test or a conditional registration for existing legitimate practitioners is unfair and discriminatory. Many Chinese speaking practitioners have practiced safely and competently for many years, serving the Australian community successfully.
If public safety is the issue, in our opinion, it is best protected by having practitioners who are adequately qualified with sufficient clinical experience to practice safely, rather than relying on an academic level of formal English education.
Chinese speaking practitioners have the unique access and experience to the roots of Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine is a practice that is based on a philosophy, culture and tradition of more than 3,000 years. It is a common part of medical care throughout Asia. We are extremely lucky to be able to access this treatment within Australia.
Chinese Medicine is considered "alternative" therefore it is does fall into conventional medicine category. Treatment diagnosis relies on inspection and tongue diagnosis, palpation and pulse taking. It is based on the principle of qi and blood, and the theory of meridians and collateral vessels. As an “alternative”, it is our choice to access this form of treatment.
Furthermore, for a practitioner to exist any length of time in practice in Australia they need to be able to communicate effectively with their patients in English. Otherwise they would not have been able to continue practice successfully. Thus, it is of our opinion that evidence of a competent practice history is sufficient to demonstrate their English proficiency.
The arbitrary English language skill registration standard approved by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council in December 2011 pursuant to the Health Practioner Regulation National Law Act, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law), with approval taking affect from 1 July 2012 would undoubtedly disadvantage the Chinese medicine practitioners and potentially cost many of their livelihood.
As a member of the Australian community we will be disadvantaged if extra costs are incurred paying for an “interpreter” which is required by condition registration.
Under a "condition registration" having an interpreter is an overkill if the Chinese-born practitioner can be understood by an English speaking patient.
The worst case scenario is Chinese Practitioners are forced to close their practice due to this new standard that has been enforced.
We have greatly benefited from the Traditional Chinese treatments which insures that we remain healthy and happy. We believe due to ongoing treatment over many years we are not putting a strain on the current and future health system. As Chinese Medicine is a preventative treatment. This most definitely should be a consideration to the current and future economy within the Australian health system.
We request that the standard supporting the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act be reviewed due to Chinese-born practitioners being disadvantaged and given they would be the most qualified in this area as we are talking about Chinese Medicine practice which is based on Chinese language, culture, philosophy and tradition.
The Support Chinese Medicinal Practitioners petition to Australian Medical Association, Federal and State Departments and APHRA was written by Cecilia Chong Wah and is in the category Health at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: chinese, medicinal practioners