A Western-style medicine called Western-based medicine has a “lost cause” that can no longer be promoted, a New Zealand doctor has said.
The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) says it is concerned about the potential for harm, saying the new system is being developed in a way that is “at odds with modern medicine”.
It has warned that a lack of scientific support, as well as a “dangerous and unrealistic expectation” of success, could result in patients being left in a “caregiver-driven” system that can be a “death trap”.
The NZMA says it has written to the Department of Health asking them to examine whether the new regime can work.
“In the meantime, we urge you to be cautious of the risks and limitations of the proposed system,” it said.
“You should ensure that it meets the highest standards of evidence-based practice.”
Dr David Macpherson, who runs the Cochrane Collaboration, said Western medicine was the “most widely practiced” form of medicine in New Zealand.
He said the proposed guidelines were “not scientifically justified”.
“There are a number of things about this that are very concerning,” Dr Macphersonsays.
Dr Macphertsons views on the proposed new system differed from those of the NZMA, which says it would “be unwise to expect patients to follow a system that is so fundamentally different to the modern medical system”.
In its letter to Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, the NZCA said: “It is concerning that the current approach to Western medicine is to use the same standards of care that we see in the modern system.
This is at odds with the modern scientific method and is at risk of creating a system where a doctor has no control over the patient’s care.”
Dr MacPhail said he believed the new approach would be “a step in the right direction”.
Dr Coleman said he was “not aware of any research that has indicated that Western medicine has any health benefits”.
He told the New Zealand Herald the proposed rules were “under review” but he did not say whether any changes had been made.
New Zealand’s medical system has long had an “emotional attachment” to Western-type medicine, he said.
“We have a huge amount of trust in our health care system, so I think it is important to respect that and do everything we can to improve that relationship.”
“But at the same time we are in a situation where we have a lot of patients who come to our hospital, who we have to treat.”
Dr Coleman told the Herald he wanted to ensure patients could “consult with a trained doctor” if they were dissatisfied with their treatment.
It was “the best system of care we have, but it’s not perfect”.
Mr Coleman says the current system is “not a good way to do it” and is in the process of being replaced by a “much better” system.
He said his priority was to find a “way to make sure the system is robust enough to meet the needs of the patient”.
New South Wales has also said it is “committed to making Western medicine accessible to all”.
Western medicine is used by a growing number of Western countries, including Australia, but has only recently become popular in the United States and Europe.
The proposed new guidelines say the system should be “designed to ensure a patient receives the best possible care”, with evidence-base “consistent with current practices”.
They recommend patients should “monitor their care at least twice a year”, and should not have “medical history, medication history, or physical exam”.
A spokeswoman for the Department said the department would “continue to work closely with our member states to develop the system” and that “a full assessment of the system and the evidence supporting it will be undertaken by the NZSA in due course”.
She said it would be up to the NZSAC to make recommendations on the system’s effectiveness.
But Dr MacPhails comments come after the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that would establish a national “Western Medicine” standard, which critics say would force all American doctors to treat patients with Western medicine.
A group of 19 House Democrats and three Republicans wrote to President Trump to “advise him of the importance of the passage of the Western Medicine Act” as well.
They said the bill would “encourage physicians to prescribe Western Medicine based on their best available medical knowledge, standards of practice, and patient safety”.
But the bill has been blocked in the US Senate.
Critics say Western medicine could lead to patients being “bribed” to take part in “doctor-assisted suicide” in some cases, and “rejecting” treatments that are deemed to be unsafe.
As a result, the House voted on Wednesday