Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thanks for a very helpful response from the Osteopathic registrar. Perhaps discussions like this might be the saving grace of both the osteopathy and acupuncture professions here in NZ

Today, I received a reply to may earlier post from the Registrar of the Osteopathic NZ,  which was actually very helpful. 

Reflecting on this - networking and exchange of views and information like this, is a powerful and effective method to protect ourselves, our osteopathic profession here in NZ, and also the Acupuncture profession, which deserves our respect also.

Forgive me if I was being a little excessive or melodramatic in my earlier post - but only saying things that I felt needed to be said.

Without realising osteopath-Traditional Chinese Medicine trained (TCM) trained acupucturists have allowed themselves to be backed into a corner.  And this is where they find themselves.  I think a worthy area for discussion.

Both the registrar and chairperson of the Osteopathic Council NZ seem very nice people to deal with. Genuinely helpful. The former chair of the osteopathic council as some of you might remember was an altogether different character - and it is his legacy that we osteopaths and acupuncturists now all have to live with. 

Yes, he may have made some contribution to the osteopathic profession here in NZ,  but almost certainly at the expense of the acupuncture profession here in NZ.  Don't worry, S and I are old friends, and still talking to each other (well. I hope so anyway) as well as being paradigm rivals.  We both went to the London School of Osteopathy together, and go back a long way together. S will probably find this all quite stimulating.  Well done, mate.

Unfortunately, I cannot forward the contents of the osteopathic registrar's email to me to anyone, or divulge it's contents here in any detail - without his permission. But I can interpret the gist of his response and share it here:

What the osteopathic registrar pointed out in his email is that TCM acupuncture is not, and cannot be within the osteopathic scope of practice.  Fair enough.  

Western medical acupuncture (WMA) can be, of course within the scope (and that was always the intention), but Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) acupuncture can never be.

So the best, or most liberal possible interpretation of the osteopathic registrar's comments is that this does not necessarily mean that one cannot necessarily include any TCM during an osteopathic treatment (as it's not in the osteopathic scope)  -  it just that practically speaking one would have a hard time explaining to most patients the above distinction, and were one to do some TCM acupuncture at the same time, within (or just before or just after) an osteopathic treatment, this theoretical distinction would get very messy.

One would have to stop during a treatment (perhaps several times) then asking if the patient wanted any TCM acupuncture, say to them something like: ''Well, now I'm not doing Osteopathy anymore, and we can do some Acupuncture now. Is that OK with you?'

And many patients might get a bit confused perhaps at that point - as perhaps some of you are trying to follow this rather slippery distinction.

So essentially what the Osteopathic Council have now done is place severe practical restrictions on how osteopath-TCM trained acupuncturists can work on a day to day basis.

In effect, what they are almost doing in a draconian way is forcing us to register in the Western Medical Acupuncture scope, as osteopaths. Or risk messy infringement if we mix and match our treatments, as most of us do most of the time.

Don't worry, I myself have now successfully registered in the so called Western Medical Acupuncture scope of practice (essentially to cover myself) and so have most of the other TCM trained acupucturist-osteopaths, or so I believe.

It's just that we osteopath-TCM acupuncturists have almost been coerced into doing so.  Not something that rests lightly with my egalitarian-liberal sentiments, and perhaps not something that the osteopathic profession (and the osteopathic council) should be proud of.

If we allowed this to happen to a relatively powerless minority of just a few of us - just think what might be in store for many more of you, my dear osteopath colleagues.

There are wheels slowly turning, if you haven't noticed  (I better not say the vice slightly closing - to strong a metaphor, I agree).  And as all of us osteopaths are only to keenly aware, there is still a lot in the pipeline with the pending paediatric specialism registration issue, if you haven't noticed.  Read the writing on the wall.  I hope its good, and I hope you like what it's going to say before it get's carved in stone.

I don't care, I don't treat children.  I and some of my TCM acupuncture-osteopath friends and colleagues have already been burned. A baptism of fire that we didn't necessarily want, and didn't see coming.

So what is the pebble pad professional osteopathic CPD portfolio forum for - if not for exactly this kind of discussion?

Be grateful for this, as both S and our beloved osteopathic council have graced us with this wonderful social networking medium.  Lucky us.  I hope we learn to use it wisely.  Perhaps the pepple pad portfolio might after all be the saving grace of the osteopathic profession.

Any reflections, comments or suggestions would be most welcome.

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