This thesis explicates the role that the law, and particularly regulation, can play in the integration of evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into the Australian health care system. It outlines a regulatory framework to move Australia beyond an ad hoc approach to integration to a national, co-ordinated and systematic one, informed by the guiding principles of choice, autonomy and responsibility. Integration is necessary to ensure that all Australians have the option of safe and effective CAM.
A holistic approach - a metaphor, the `regulatory space of health care', and a broad definition of regulation, legal orderings (statutes and common law) and non-legal orderings (guidelines and norms) - is adopted to analyse the current level-of integration of CAM in Australia. This integrative map provides the necessary background to consider key elements of the regulatory framework necessary for integration. A national policy, a national body, a model of integration and regulatory strategies are proposed and discussed.
A partnership model of integration is recommended as both biomedicine and CAM have a singular contribution to health care in the future. The model of integration must preserve the integrity of each health care paradigm. It must provide scope for the continued development and exploration of health solutions arising out of the philosophy and methodology of biomedicine and CAM. A holistic relational model, referral, multidisciplinary, and other linking mechanisms, are proposed to unify the two health care paradigms into one health care system.
To spearhead, steer and co-ordinate the regulatory change process, a national body - an Australian National Centre for Integrative Healthcare (ANCIH) is recommended. As integration will involve a re-negotiation of the regulatory space of health care, to make room for evidence-based CAM to share in health infrastructure, this national body will require the authority to work with all the stake-holders to effect change