Update on the Natural Therapies Review 2019-20

On 7 April 2019, the Minister for Health announced an updated review of natural therapies to be led by the Australian Government Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Brendan Murphy, and supported by the Natural Therapies Review Expert Advisory Panel (NTREAP).

The Natural Therapies Review 2019-20 is an update to the 2014-15 review to assess additional available evidence of the clinical effectiveness of the 16 natural therapies excluded from private health insurance from 1 April 2019.

Since 1 April 2019 the following natural therapies have been excluded from complying health insurance products: Alexander technique, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, Western herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi, and yoga.

The Natural Therapies Review 2019-20 will examine additional evidence which has emerged since the previous review and provide advice to Government on whether any of the natural therapies should be covered by private health insurance and therefore eligible for subsidy through the Private Health Insurance Rebate.

The Department of Health has provided the following web-based information about the current Natural Therapies Review 2019-20 activity:

Natural Therapies Review 2019-20 general overview

Natural Therapies Review Expert Advisory Panel (NTREAP) information

NTREAP first meeting 11 September 2019 outcomes

BTFA comments on the Draft Terms of Reference (ToR)

The Government invited relevant associations to comment on the draft Terms of Reference (ToR) on the updated Review of Natural Therapies as announced by the Health Minister on 7th April 2019.

The BTFA provided the following comments on the Draft ToR on 7th August 2019:

  1. That Bowen Therapy be included for review in tranche one, because it shares more in common with the majority of other modalities in this tranche (i.e. yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and Shiatsu) than those in tranche two. Of significance is that Bowen Therapy is a soft tissue (fascial), muscular skeletal balancing technique that shares similar broad clinical objectives to those of Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and Shiatsu techniques.
  2. That reports be provided on a third category of information, that is – details of any investment in academic research leadership and capacity development activity initiated since the earlier 2014-15 review. This demonstrates commitment to investing in the future development of the evidence base to demonstrate safety and efficacy of the modality.

Call for information on Bowen therapy research published since 2014-15

The main assessment of new evidence since 2014-15 for the current 2019-2020 Natural Therapies Review will be conducted through a process overseen by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

As part of the review, relevant stakeholders (i.e. Bowen therapy associations) have been encouraged to provide details of any additional research that has been produced since 2014-15 that they believe should be considered in the review.

To assist in this process, it would be useful for BTFA members to let us know of any citation details (Title, Authors Name(s), date of publication and Journal name) or links to:

  1. Bowen therapy research published in peer-reviewed journals since the 2014/15 review, or
  2. provide information about research publications that are either in-press in peer-reviewed journals (i.e. accepted for publication and not yet published), or
  3. in the process of development for publication in a peer-reviewed journal (i.e. being developed for publication).

Please provide relevant information by 30th October 2019 to the following email: research@bowen.asn.au

BTFA Submission to the 2014 Government Review

Below are the relevant documents relating to the call for submissions for the 2014 Government Review:

Call for Submissions letter

BTFA response to Call for Submissions for 2014 Government Review