7 years ago i took my son with cerebral palsy to see a naturopath, he was born 3.5 months early and had a very challenging start to life. The doctors did not talk about the issues involved with spending the first 4 months of life in the NICU and what issues this could cause long term for my sons microbiome, especially as he had been given multiple doses of antibiotics as a preventative measure while his body was adjusting to the new external environment.
With the support of my naturopath we were able to work on restoring his gut flora, improving his nutrition, strengthening his immunity, and helping with his muscle spasms and pain linked to cerebral palsy.
I was able to pay for these sessions and have a rebate of around $30 each session which was affordable for me at the time as a 20 year old single mother.
Everything that i learnt about my own health and causes of mental health issues led me into studying Naturopathy myself, i started my bachelor of health sciences back in 2015 when my son was 1.5 and have worked hard and dedicated myself to my studies for the last 6 years, finishing my degree in december last year.
it was tough for me to hear the news that rebates had been cut for those with my qualifications right in the middle of my studies, but not for nutritionists, even though we had studied the same coursework and attended the same classes. The only difference was that i was also studying herbal therapies, which includes a range of studied and proven herbal therapeutics which worked hand in hand with the nutritional support that i wanted to give my clients.
You can find herbs such as garlic (allicin for hypertension), turmeric (curcumin, a powerful anti inflammatory and antioxidant), ashwagandha (an adaptogen for fatigue, stress & exhaustion) everywhere these days, in over-the counter supplements. But i was not able to prescribe these unless i studied Naturopathy, and now i was being penalised for choosing one degree over another?
It was not fair for me to get to the end of my 6 years of study, and now face the reality of not being able to provide my clients with private healthcare rebates for our sessions, especially as a large portion of my clients have chronic health issues and already pay $100’s on specialists and have multiple chronic care plans through the GP. The other group of my clients have complex disabilities and have parents that are full time carers and cannot afford to pay over $100 a session every few weeks without getting any rebate in return from their private healthcare provider.
Is is really fair for these clients to be out of pocket or suffer further as they cannot receive the comprehensive and holistic support they need and deserve for such complex health issues? all because their practitioner has taken on a further 1 year of studies to learn how to best support them with both nutrition supplements and herbal therapeutics.
Please bring back healthcare rebates for Naturopaths, we are here to help, especially with a world full of complex and chronic health conditions.
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