Northern Territory

COVID-19 Communications

Please expand the below headings to read the communications to members at that time.

1. 14 October 2021 - Northern Territory Vaccine Mandate

14 October 2021

At midday yesterday, the Chief Health Officer of the Northern Territory signed Orders to make COVID vaccinations mandatory for a range of workers to be able to attend their workplace.

Please note that on page 6 of the orders, it is stipulated under item 1-c that “workers who directly face customers or patients in health care or ancillary health care services” are included in this mandate.

If you are eligible and receive a medical exemption from being vaccinated, then you will still be able to attend your workplace without being vaccinated.

If you have any further questions regarding your specific circumstance, please contact the Northern Territory COVID business advice hotline on 1800 193 111.

2. 8 October 2021 - State-Based Vaccine Mandate Information

8 October 2021

Recently, we have seen the introduction of a number of mandates for vaccinations in Australia for various industries as part of the fight against COVID-19.

Understanding these mandates, how or if they relate to your and your practices is challenging to say the least.

ANTA has been working hard to elucidate the facts and provide them to you in as clear a way as possible.

Please note that the information we provide here is simply a summary of the vaccine mandates for states in which they are currently in place.
Please also note that the information we provide here is current to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing, and that new and updated information may be provided by government at any time.

Lastly, please note that mandatory vaccination orders are, and can only be, put in place by Chief Health Officers in each state, and they are not mandates placed on you by ANTA or any other body.

At the time of release of this statement, there are mandatory vaccine mandates for the health services in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

Currently there are no vaccine mandates for Queensland, Australian Capital Territory or Northern Territory.

Not all state-based mandates apply to ANTA members, and those mandates that may apply to some ANTA members, do not apply to all.

Victoria
In the state of Victoria, vaccinations are mandatory for practitioners who are AHPRA registered (Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioners) and other health practitioners who fall under the definition of Allied Health as per the Victorian Health Department definition (link).

All non-AHPRA registered practitioners are not mandated to be vaccinated unless they work in a practice that is owned/operated by an Allied Health or AHPRA registered practitioner, or if they work in a public or private hospital. See the full Victorian Health Orders (No. 6) HERE.

If you fall under the mandatory vaccination rules, you must have your first dose of the vaccine on or by the 29th of October. Your second dose must be received by December 15th 2021.

Currently, the reopen date for businesses appears to be around 26th October. This will be dependent on the State getting to 70% or more vaccination status. Therefore, regardless of your vaccination status, if you are not considered an essential worker you are unable to reopen at this time.

New South Wales
In the state of New South Wales, vaccinations are mandatory for all registered and non-registered health practitioners. The definition of a health practitioner references the Healthcare Complaints Act 1993 (link).

This means that all practising New South Wales, ANTA members must be vaccinated as per the NSW Health Orders, dated Sept 29th 2021, regardless of the setting in which you work.

Health care workers are required to have had both doses of the vaccine by the 30th of November 2021.

Tasmania

The Tasmanian Health Department has published directions for health care practitioners as listed in (THIS) letter are required to have received their first vaccination by the 31st of October 2021.

ANTA members who are listed in the letter (AHPRA registered and Allied Health practitioners according to the Tasmanian Health definition) are included in these directions for mandatory vaccinations.

The complete Health Orders have not yet been issued, but are expected soon. For further information please refer to the Tasmanian Health Department (link)

South Australia

On the 7th of October, South Australia Health released public health orders that required health practitioners working in health care settings, as defined in the (orders) as public and private hospitals and ambulance services.

The definition of health care workers as per the Orders does not include any of the categories of ANTA membership.

For further information please refer to the (Orders).

Western Australia

The Western Australian Department of Health has issued mandatory vaccination orders for health practitioners and employees working in WA health system entities (hospitals, government health settings).

The definition of health care workers as per the Orders does not include any of the categories of ANTA membership.

For further information please refer to the government of WA health department website (HERE)or (HERE).

To fully understand the obligations for your business with regard to vaccinations, please refer to the relevant state-based agencies.

3. 17 August 2021 - 3 Day Lockdown

17 August 2021

The Northern Territory government has entered into a 72 hour lockdown. Effect from 12:01pm 16th August 2021 until 12:01pm 19th August 2021.

The following locations will enter a full lockdown:

  • City of Darwin
  • City of Palmerston
  • Litchfield Council
  • Wagait Shire
  • Belyuen Shire
  • Dundee
  • Bynoe
  • Charlotte
  • Cox Peninsula
  • Municipality of Katherine including Tindal

What does this mean for ANTA Members?

According to the directions, the only ANTA members able to work face-to-face during this lockdown, in the specified locations, are Acupuncturists and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioners when providing Critical Clinical Care.

These modalities have been classified as Allied Health from the Federal Chief Allied Health Officer.

What is Critical Clinical Care?

For this purpose, critical clinical care has been defined as:

  • to prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence which would result in an escalation of care needs (e.g. an increase in frequency of treatment needed, an increased need for prescription medication due to a significant increase in pain, requirement for specialist input or review, an increase in care needs, and/or a substantial increase to anticipated recovery time associated with a delay in receiving services)
  • to provide assessment and diagnostic services to clients / patients whose care have been delayed as a result of previous restrictions, with any further delay likely to result in deterioration in functional independence or adverse health outcomes (including access to diagnostic imaging services or assessment for prescription of assistive equipment and technology)
  • to provide services that are essential as part of a broader plan of care with a medical practitioner (e.g. fitting a brace post-surgery)
  • to provide services that are part of a conservative management plan to avoid or delay elective surgery (as agreed with treating team)
  • to provide services immediately following elective surgery that prevent secondary complications or aid functional recovery (as agreed with treating team

If you have the ability to work via telehealth/virtual means, you are welcome to do so.

Masks

Masks must be worn when outside of your usual place of residence.

4. 23 July 2021 - AHPRA-Regulated Allied Health

23 July 2021

It is with pleasure we advise that late yesterday afternoon we received a notification from the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia that The Chief Allied Health Office has updated their website to include Chinese Herbal Medicine, which also includes Acupuncture.

Please see below what this means for members in each state:

SA: Chinese Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture can work if they operate from a Hospital

NSW: Chinese Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture can work in any location under any circumstance

VIC: Chinese Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture can work for essential clinical care. Please click this link to go through to a previous communication to see the points that determine “essential clinical care“.

This is a small win and something we can continue to reference into the future.

If there is anything further we can assist you with please feel free to contact us at info@anta.com.au.

5. 2 July 2021 - Greater Darwin Area and Alice Springs Lockdown Lifted

2 July 2021

The lockdown in the Greater Darwin Area and Alice Springs ended at 1pm ACST Friday 2 July 2021.

Some restrictions remain in place until 1pm ACST on 9 July 2021.

From 1pm today there will be no restrictions on the reasons to leave your home if you live in Greater Darwin or Alice Springs but staying COVIDSafe remains important.

Face masks must be worn for clients and practitioners who come in close contact with each other during treatment.

The Territory Check-In App will become mandatory for use in all NT businesses. You will be required to check in everywhere you go, no matter how long you spend at that location.

For more information on the restrictions, click here.

6. 30 June 2021 - Alice Springs Lockdown

30 June 2021

The Security and Emergency Management Committee made the decision under the Northern Territory pandemic plan to place Alice Springs into a 72-hour lockdown effective from 1pm ACST 30 June 2021.

People are only permitted to leave home for the following five reasons:

1. Medical treatment, including COVID testing or vaccination
2. For essential goods and services, like groceries and medications
3. For work that is considered essential
4. For one hour of outdoor exercise a day within 5km from your home with one person or people from your house
5. To provide care and support to a family member or person who cannot support themselves.
In addition to this, there is a new direction on masks. For everyone in the lockdown area, masks must be worn if you leave your place of residence for one of these five reasons.
It is of the Association’s understanding that you must work from home if you can do so.

For more information, please click here.

7. 29 June 2021 - Greater Darwin Area Lockdown Extended

29 June 2021

The COVID-19 lockdown across the Greater Darwin Area will be extended for a further 72 hours until 1pm on Friday 2 July 2021. This includes the Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield Council areas, and Wagait and Belyuen Shires.

People are only permitted to leave home for the following five reasons:

1. Medical treatment, including COVID testing or vaccination
2. For essential goods and services, like groceries and medications
3. For work that is considered essential
4. For one hour of outdoor exercise a day within 5km from your home with one person or people from your house
5. To provide care and support to a family member or person who cannot support themselves.
In addition to this, there is a new direction on masks. For everyone in the lockdown area, masks must be worn if you leave your place of residence for one of these five reasons.
It is of the Associations understanding that you must work from home if you can do so.
For more information, please click here.

8. 28 June 2021 - Darwin, Palmerston & Darwin Rural Area Lockdown

28 June 2021

This morning, the Security and Emergency Management Committee made the decision under the Northern Territory pandemic plan to lock down part of the NT community.

Effective from 1:00pm June 27th – the Darwin, Palmerston and Darwin rural areas will enter a full lockdown for 48 hours.

That means the local government areas of the City of Darwin, the City of Palmerston, and Litchfield.

From 1pm residents from Darwin, Palmerston and the rural areas must stay at home for the 48 hour lockdown period. People are only permitted to leave home for the following five reasons:

1. Medical treatment, including COVID testing or vaccination
2. For essential goods and services, like groceries and medications
3. For work that is considered essential
4. For one hour of outdoor exercise a day within 5km from your home with one person or people from your house
5. To provide care and support to a family member or person who cannot support themselves.
In addition to this, there is a new direction on masks. For everyone in the lockdown area, masks must be worn if you leave your place of residence for one of these five reasons.
It is of the Associations understanding that you must work from home if you can do so.

For more information, please click here.

9. 1 May 2020 - Manual Therapists as Essential Services

1 May 2020

Joint Association Statement

To all of our members, we write to you today feeling positive and grateful for the results achieved thus far in clarifying the position that our professions hold in the broader health care landscape.
To date, we now have formal confirmation from all states and territories that Myotherapy and Remedial Massage are deemed essential services!These outcomes have occurred as the result of countless hours of communication and advocacy, and we are very pleased that our combined efforts have achieved an improved standing for Remedial Massage and Myotherapy across the country.
This demonstrates clearly that YOU provide an essential service that helps to keep our country moving and healthy.Thank you very much to all of you who continue to provide support and encouragement for one another and for your association, it is only through this positive and proactive attitude that anything great is achieved.

We look forward to continuing to provide a voice and a united front for you all as we work through this period and into the future.

Please click here to view the email correspondence received from the Tasmanian COVID-19 Emergency Coordination Centre, Department of Health.

To access current state and territory statements regarding your profession, please refer to: State by State Rulings.

Friday, 1st May 2020

Joint Associations,
ANTA, Massage and Myotherapy Austraia, ATMS and Myothearpy Association Australia

10. 25 April 2020 - Manual Therapy Practitioner Update

25 April 2020

In what can only be described as a roller-coaster of emotions over the past month, we, the Australian Natural Therapists Association are absolutely elated to announce Myotherapy is permitted in every state and Remedial Massage is permitted in every state except Tasmania. We are hopeful that we will also have a green light from Tasmania shortly.

These results have not come about by chance. This is the result of an immense amount of advocacy, conversations with all state and territory departments and ministers, emails, carrier pigeons, you name it, we used it. This is also the result of 4 of our major industry associations, MA, ATMS, Massage and Myotherapy and us, ANTA coming together to provide one VERY LOUD voice. And it cannot go without being said that this is also the result of you, our members, strongly standing behind what you do, ensuring that your work is understood as an essential health service, contacting your own state and territory departments, and being proud to say, this is who we are, this is what we do, this is why we are essential.

Updated State Ruling Document

Saturday, 25th April 2020

11. 22 April 2020 - Continuing to Advocate for our Industry

22 April 2020

Joint Association Statement

We continue to advocate on your behalf – our members, our community.

Together as industry associations ANTA, ATMS, Massage & Myotherapy and MA have been working on behalf of our members, asking all State and Territory governments to clarify whether remedial massage and myotherapists can continue to practice during Coronavirus restrictions.

One by one, governments have come back to us with sensible responses that allow essential healthcare services, such as remedial massage, myotherapy and soft tissue therapy to continue caring for patients.

In a victory for common-sense, yesterday, the Queensland government responded to our member advocacy permitting these services to operate. Their updates to the Directive can be read here.

We will continue to strive for more clarity for Tasmania and South Australia, and will provide updates as they become available.

You can find a full summary of the state by state rulings for all modalities below.

State by State Rulings

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020

Joint Associations,
ANTA, Myotherapy Association Australia, ATMS and Massage and Myotherapy Australia

12. 17 April 2020- Joint Association Statement | Manual Therapists

17 April 2020

Joint Association Statement

Since our first joint statement on 26th March 2020, the landscape continues to be ever changing. The joint Associations have been working tirelessly in order to provide all members the facts and will continue to seek clarity from both Federal and State Governments as to the direction orders for Therapeutic, Remedial Massage and Myotherapy services in each individual state.

As of today, 17th April 2020, the following is a summary of what has been received in writing from the different states and territories:

The following states and territories have confirmed that remedial massage and myotherapy members are permitted to provide professional services at this time:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

The following states have confirmed that remedial massage and myotherapy are not permitted to provide professional services, at this time:

  • Queensland
  • Tasmania

We continue to seek clarification from South Australia.

Obtaining the facts as they stand on a day-to-day basis has been achieved as a result of the efforts of the combined Association initiative between the Australian Natural Therapies Association (ANTA), Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS), Myotherapy Association Australia (MAA) & Massage & Myotherapy Australia (M&MA). We thank you for continuing to support the work that your association is doing at this time, and stay united as a community of health care providers.

Please view THIS DOCUMENT to verify the rulings state by state. This document will be updated as any new information comes to hand.

Friday, 17th April 2020

Joint Association,
ANTA, Massage and Myotherapy Australia, ATMS, Myotherapy Association Australia

13. 9 April 2020 - COVID-19 Update - Remedial & Myotherapy

9 April 2020

Joint Association Statement

It certainly has been a challenging time for our profession over the past few weeks.

We hope that you can find confidence in the fact that four major associations are continuing to work closely in an effort to obtain more clarity on government directions, greater unity within our industry, and a stronger positioning of our members as important contributors to the health care setting.

Every day presents us with a new challenge to tackle. We know that some of you are grappling with your decisions to close or not close your practices at this time, while others have been directed by their state government to close due to local restrictions.

Please note that we are working constantly to ensure you have the most current information available, and that the relevant stakeholders in the various government departments are well informed of the services being provided by our members and the benefits that they provide the community.

It is at times like this that being a member of an industry association that exists to support and advocate for its members is most important, and we take that role very seriously. Thank you for your faith in us and for allowing us to work for you at this time.

As we approach the Easter weekend, an Easter like no other we have experienced before, please remember to keep supporting your colleagues, industry, friends and family, be respectful, patient and kind. We are all in this together and will come through the other side stronger, united and proud for the remarkable services we provide.

Thank you.

9th April 2020

Joint Associations,
ANTA, Massage and Myotherapy Australia, Myotherapy Association Australia and ATMS

14. 6 April 2020 - Northern Territory Practitioners | COVID-19 Update

6 April 2020

The Northern Territory Department of Health has recently updated their position on events and gatherings to state the Remedial / Sports / Lymphatic massage is permitted to be provided.

We are providing this news so that practitioners in the Northern Territory are staying informed of their rights at this time. It is however up to each individual therapist to make their own informed decisions to practice or not, and to take all necessary steps to reduce risks of infection to you and your clients.

For those of you in the Northern Territory who have already closed your practices based on previous notifications, please note that we too are frustrated with the changing landscape that we are all needing to adapt to right now.

We will continue to bring you the most up-to-date information as it becomes available.

Regards,

Shaun Brewster – Director and Myotherapy Branch Chair
Isaac Enbom – Director and Remedial Massage Branch Chair

15. 31 March 2020 - Latest Update - Remedial Massage & Myotherapy

31 March 2020

Joint Association Statement

As the COVID -19 situation persists through March and into April 2020 affecting members and industry nationwide, we trust that these joint statements are of assistance. The joint statements aim to help all our members better understand the COVID -19 situation as it applies to massage and myotherapy in the face of unclear interpretations of the term “massage parlour” across a range of jurisdictions.

The Australian Government has described a healthcare setting as an essential indoor gathering. At this stage it is apparent that directives to specific healthservice providers are being informed state by state, further adding to the confusion.

While services provided by remedial massage and myotherapists currently fall within this category (an essential indoor gathering) in some states (see below for state directive) we encourage you to consider the risk environment and public safety when making decisions about whether you are providing to your patients’ essential services within those states and territories yet to provide a clear directive.

You would have received the email or social media message advising that we continue to seek clarity or a single definition from both Federal and State Government as to the exclusion of these health services. This is important now and in the future to establish a definitive and clear message. In the interim ARHG support the position of their participating health funds in removing access to the Hicaps facility until the government advises that the virus is contained. They have further advised that claims submitted by other means will be reviewed carefully and audited if necessary.

Police is some States are instructing some therapists that are open to close down but not in others.

It is important to note that Associations have no legal authority to tell you to open or close. We can only provide members with the guidance and advice from confirmed sources which we will continue to do.

As of today, Tuesday 31st March, we are advised Massage and Myotherapy are considered non-essential services in  Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria, and therefore remedial massage therapists and myotherapists in those states should cease face-to-face practice immediately.

Until absolute clarity can be demonstrated such as in Queensland and Victoria please co-operate with any instructions from Police and do not put your business or self at further risk.

31st March 2020

Sincerely,

Joint Associations
ANTA, Massage and Myotherapy Australia, Myotherapy Association Australia and ATMS

16. 27 March 2020 - COVID-19, Joint Association Statement

27 March 2020

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for all of you.

We have joined together to issue this joint statement to help all of our members better understand the current situation as it applies to massage and myotherapy.

Our Boards and staff are working very hard to bring you factual, up-to-date information relevant to your practices. Given the ever-changing nature of the current situation, we are fact-checking before we communicate with you. This means we are in regular communication with State, Territory and Federal government departments and Ministers to clarify the situation for our members. They all have a lot of responsibilities right now and we respect the time it takes for them to respond.

Please be patient and respectful with our staff. We are working through our enquiries as quickly as we can.

Latest Update

QLD Health Department released a statement late on Thursday 26th March, outlining that exemptions to continue work applies to Health services provided by health practitioners registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, with social distancing observed to the extent possible.

On 26 March, we attended a briefing with the Principal Medical Advisor at the Department of Health. Key messages from that briefing are:

  • government encourages healthcare workers to continue working, to help ease the pressure on our hospital system; and
  • where you don’t need a face-to-face consultation, government encourages audiovisual consultations.

Please find a letter from the Department of Health here.(File no longer available)

  1. This week, the private health funds contacted us to ask us to help them with policies on audiovisual consultations for health practitioners during Covid-19. We are collating evidence to help the health funds formulate appropriate audiovisual consultation policies during this time.
  2. So far, government has listed activities that are not allowed. Our understanding is that if you are not on that list, you do not have to shut. However, we are actively pursuing this with government and will let you know as soon as we have an answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Close My Practice?

This is the number one question from our members and there are no black and white answers.

The short answer is that we cannot advise that you are required to close your business. Government encourages healthcare workers to continue working, to help ease the pressure on our hospital system.

You need to consider your own personal situation when deciding whether to close your practice. You, or someone you live with, may have healthcare concerns that make it prudent for you to limit your physical interaction with others.

Government is asking practitioners to refrain from using masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) and help conserve stocks for hospitals and other higher need areas.

Whatever decision you make, always remember to respect government advice on Covid-19 hygiene.

Am I Covered by my Professional Indemnity Insurer to Continue Practicing?

Our insurers have confirmed that you are covered as long as you:

  • practice within your scope;
  • follow all the latest government Covid-19 advice; and
  • keep comprehensive notes.

Here are some resources to help you and your patients with Covid-19 hygiene:

Can I Provide Audiovisual Consultations?

Remedial Massage – it is difficult to see how massage could be provided remotely. However, you may choose to provide your clients with some stretches, exercises if in scope, or self-manage tips to help them.

Myotherapy – Yes, you can provide audiovisual consultations to your clients. In fact, where you don’t need a face-to-face consultation, government encourages audiovisual consultations.

You are insured, as long as you practice within your scope of practice and keep comprehensive notes. Insurance providers are suggesting that, where possible, initial consultations should still occur face-to-face, as it may be more challenging to perform an initial client assessment online.

On 26 March, private health funds do NOT provide rebates for audiovisual consultations. It is important that you tell your clients this so there are no misunderstandings later.

Please note – we are working with private health funds in the hope of implementing rebates for audiovisual consultation services.

Where Do I Access Information About Financial Help?

There are a lot of resources out there that you can access.
This information focuses on help available for small businesses. Here is another link.

We want to reassure you again that we are here for you and doing everything we can to bring you fact-checked information as it becomes available.

Thursday, 26th March 2020

ANTA – Elizabeth Greenwood, President  |  Jim Olds, Executive Officer

Myotherapy Association Australia – Nick Steward, President  |  Anna Yerondais, CEO

ATMS – Peter Berryman, President  |  Charles Wurf, CEO

Massage and Myotherapy Australia – Andrew Gallagher, President  |  Tricia Hughes, CEO