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Naturopaths wants same rights as physicians June 10, 2009

Posted by Dreamhealer in naturopathic.
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Legislation enacted by the B.C. government last month will allow naturopathic doctors to prescribe prescription medications to patients.

Local naturopathic doctor Dr. Deborah Phair said the change will help reduce duplication of services. However the legislation falls short of recommendations by the B.C. Naturopathic Association, which is calling for its members to be allowed the same laboratory privileges as conventional physicians.

“We’re not able to practice the full scope of our practice as physicians,” Phair said. “I think the public want it… they want access to complementary therapies. (And) for lots of people, naturopathic therapies are primary therapies.”

Naturopathy takes a holistic approach to health using acupuncture, diet and lifestyle, homeopathic medicine and other methods, Phair explained.

“We try to treat the whole person,” she said. “It is a stand-alone style of medicine, but there are many people who choose to access both naturopathic and conventional medicine.”

Following this legislation, patients seeking treatment for high blood pressure – for example – won’t have to go to their general practitioner for blood pressure medication and then to a naturopath for alternative treatments, she said. The naturopath will be able to prescribe both treatments.

The next step is to allow naturopaths to order blood and urine tests, x-rays and other laboratory tests, she said.

“Essentially what is being requested is the ability to order what could be ordered in a typical family practice setting,” Phair said. “As physicians, we should have access to these things. It will allow people to receive timely diagnostic workups… without having to see multiple practitioners. There is a duplication of service, but there is also a time lag.”

The legislation also expands the role of nurse practitioners and midwives in B.C.

“British Columbians made it clear during the Conversation on Health that they want increased choice and better access to health services, and today we are meeting our 2008 throne speech commitment to expand the scope of practice for these professionals,” Health Minister George Abbott said in a press release.

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