Massage & Myotherapy Australia has today welcomed the adoption of the National Code of Conduct for Unregistered Healthcare Workers (the Code) by the Western Australian Government.
CEO, Ann Davey said, ‘The Code sets in place a code of conduct and standards of practice for all unregistered health workers including professional remedial massage therapists and myotherapists (massage therapists).
‘This reform is an important step in recognising the valuable contribution that complementary health care practitioners provide in the West Australian community.
‘The new Health and Disability Service Complaints Office (HaDSCO), also augments the complaints reporting and follow-up standards of our Association and provides a facility for serious complaints to be elevated to a state government level,’ Mrs Davey said.
The new powers of the HaDSCO will help to prevent people in WA who have been found guilty of serious breaches of the National Code of Conduct from migrating out of WA and setting up massage services in another state.
Mrs Davey said, ‘The massage sector has one of the lowest rates of serious misconduct compared to both the registered and unregistered health professions.
'The new regulatory framework will help in meeting the challenges of a self-regulated sector where any unqualified person can say they are a massage therapist.’
To address the failings of the self-regulated market, further recognition, and integration of professional massage therapists within West Australia’s health sector is required. Further integration and recognition will provide much needed certainty for people who depend on massage therapists to maintain their health and well-being; and for General Practitioners (GP) who regularly refer patients for massage therapy.
For example, illegal sex work advertised as massage, sex offences and fraudulent activity continue to sully the reputation of professional qualified massage therapists and their legitimate place as health service providers.
Mrs Davey said, ‘The massage sector has simply grown beyond the capabilities of the current regulatory system and resources. Improving the safety of both the public and practitioners warrants further reforms to bring West Australian health policy and regulation in line with the professional development of the massage sector.
‘This includes acknowledgement in WA Health Policy and Legislation that massage therapists who have qualifications, skills, and competencies in healthcare, actually exist.
'To the best of our knowledge, they are not mentioned or recognised at all in policy concerning WA Health, yet the new Code of Conduct subjects them to prosecution as recognised unregistered health care practitioners.’
'Much has changed during the past 20 years, with requirements for accreditation as a member of the Massage & Myotherapy Australia, and other professional massage associations now very similar to AHPRA’s registration requirements for Allied Health and General Practitioners and Clinicians.
'More is known about the efficacy of massage. Many professional massage therapists, now work alongside Allied Health professionals in multidisciplinary clinics and settings, such as sports clinics, aged and palliative care. This important contribution needs to be recognised in WA Health Policy and legislation,’ Mrs Davey said.
Massage & Myotherapy Australia is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2003 and is the leading representative body for professional massage therapists nationwide, with a membership of over 8,500 therapists.
Media inquiry: Glenn Schaube 0439 320 151; firstname.lastname@example.org