Western Australia

COVID-19 Communications

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

1. 17 January 2022 - WA Booster Vaccination Direction Update

Happy New Year! The Western Australian government has now mandated the booster vaccination for persons who were/are directed by the government to be vaccinated. (Please read previous communications about this here).

Below is the new Booster Vaccination Directions for your reference.

The Western Australian government has now implemented Booster Vaccination directions on any person who was previously directed to be vaccinated. We have read through the Directions again to check whether there have been any changes to who this applies to and there does not appear to be any changes.

Who is Directed to be Booster Vaccinated?

We will only comment on ANTA modalities as they relate to the healthcare industry. If you work in retail, education, aged care or any other industry, you will need to seek guidance from that industry.

Previously Directed Persons:

If you are Acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbal Medicine modalities you were required to be vaccinated to continue working from a healthcare facility.

If you worked for someone who is Allied Health (including Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine), you are also required to be vaccinated to continue working within that healthcare facility.

It is the same groups of people now being mandated to receive their third vaccination (booster).

When do I Need to be Booster Vaccinated?

The Western Australian government has been quite complex on this. If you are confused, please open the Directions link above and carefully read through the document to better your understanding.

A person who is Directed to be vaccinated will need to have had their Booster vaccination within one (1) calendar month from their eligibility date.

Eligibility Date is calculated from the date of your second vaccination, see list below:

COUNT BACKWARDS TO CALCULATE

  1. from the 24th December 2021 until 3rd January 2022, a date which is 5 months from the date the person became fully vaccinated
    • (If you had your second dose was on the 3rd August 2021, you must have your booster by 5th February);
  2. from the 4th January 2022 until 30 January 2022, a date which is 4 months from the date the person became fully vaccinated
    • (If you had your second dose 30 September 2021, you would be eligible for the booster by 30 January 2022 and have until 28 February 2022 to get the booster);
  3. from 31 January 2022, a date which is 3 months from the date the person became fully vaccinated
    • (If the second dose was from 1 October or afterwards, calculate 3 months for your eligibility and add 1 calendar month to get the booster).

    Please see table below to assist.

All other persons who do not meet the requirements for vaccination from our original communication in October 2021, can continue business as usual.

2. 26 October 2021 - Western Australian Vaccination Mandate Information

On Friday 22nd October, new Public Health Orders were signed that relate to Primary Health Care Workers in Western Australia.

These Orders state that Primary Health Care Workers definition is Allied Health, which includes Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture.

If you are a Chinese Herbal Medicine or Acupuncture practitioner, these orders apply to you, as they do to any other person who is employed or works within your practice.

From 12:01am on 1 November 2021, a primary health care worker must not enter, or remain at a primary health care facility, if the primary health care worker has not been partially vaccinated (at least 1 dose) against COVID-19. From 12:01am on 1 December, a primary health care worker must not enter a primary health care facility if they have not been fully vaccinated (two doses) against COVID-19.

If a Chinese Herbal Medicine or Acupuncture practitioner operates a practice from home, anyone who is employed or sub-contracted that enters the practice (Primary Health Care Facility) are also included in the vaccination Direction. (See schedule 1 of the Orders)

Patients/clients are NOT required to be vaccinated.

We recognise the government has provided a very short timeline to receive the first vaccination dose. If this presents a problem for you, or if you have any further questions, we encourage you to contact your state health authority.

3. 8 October 2021 - State-Based Vaccine Mandate Information

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.

4. 23 July 2021 - AHPRA-Regulated Allied Health

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. 29 June 2021 - Perth & Peel Lockdown

Perth and Peel will enter a minimum 4-day lockdown from 12.01am Tuesday 29 June 2021 until 12.01am, Saturday 3 July, 2021.

Stay home:

You are required to stay home unless you need to:

  • Work because its not possible to work from home. Refer to the list of essential workers
  • Shop for essentials like groceries, medicine and necessary supplies, including click and collect, within 5km from your home or closest practicable location
  • Attend medical or health care needs including emergencies, compassionate requirements and look after the vulnerable
  • Exercise with a minimum of two adults from the same household (children under 18 tears are not counted), limited to one hour per day within a 5km radius from home, and masks must be worn, except for vigorous exercise
  • Receive a COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • Leave for an emergency.

Therefore, all practitioners must work via telehealth. If you cannot consult with clients via telehealth, then unfortunately you are unable to work.

Click and collect services can be used to distribute products to clients that live within the 5km radius. If clients live over the 5km radius, then postal services will need to be used during the lockdown.

Masks

Masks are mandatory indoors, outdoors and on public transport.

For more information, please click here.

6. 28 June 2021 - Restrictions Introducted for Perth & Peel Immediately

Effective from 27th June, 2021 for a minimum period of three (3) days, masks are mandatory indoors.

It is of the Associations understanding that all practitioners are able to continue to work but masks must be worn by the practitioner and client at all times. Clients can remove their face masks if laying face down.

ANTA will provide updates of any changes. For more information, please click here.

7. 5 February 2021 - Western Australia Easing Lockdown Restrictions

The 5 day lockdown for Perth, Peel and South West regions will end as planned. From 6pm, Friday 5th February 2021, the following will come into effect:

  • Perth and Peel will enter into a post-lockdown transition period until 12.01am, Sunday 14th February.
  • South West will return to pre-lockdown conditions

Perth & Peel Requirements

  • Wearing a mask when in public and while at work, unless exempt or for vigorous outdoor exercise
  • All businesses can reopen (except the casino and nightclubs)
  • 4sq/m capacity rule in place for businesses and venues, up to a maximum of 150
  • Visits to aged care and disability care facilities are restricted to compassionate grounds (if you work with people in these areas you will not yet be able to see these clients)
  • Only essential travel is permitted in and out of the Perth and Peel regions to other parts of WA.

If you leave the Perth and Peel regions to other parts of the state, you must continue to wear a mask.

As always, please ensure you are following the government’s website as changes can happen quickly and the most up-to-date information will be found on their website.

8. 1 February 2021 - Western Australian Lockdown

Further to the information below, provided earlier this morning, the WA government has updated their website to include a list of essential services. You are welcome to read through this list here.

An Allied Health Professional is able to work from a private practice providing care through telehealth and other virtual care options.

Therefore the following modalities are not able to operate under this 5 day lockdown face-to-face:

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Myotherapy
  • Musculoskeletal Therapy
  • Naturopathy
  • Nutrition
  • Oriental Remedial Massage Therapy (An Mo Tui Na)
  • Remedial Therapy
  • Shiatsu
  • Western Herbal Medicine

Please refer to the WA government website for any updates concerning COVID and changes to the lockdowns

__________________________________________________________________

Effective from 6pm Sunday 31st January 2021, until 6pm Friday 5th February 2021, the Perth metropolitan area, Peel and South West regions will enter a lockdown.

People must work from home where possible and only essential services are able to work face to face.

Essential reasons to leave the home

  • Work because they cannot work from home or remotely
  • Shop for essentials like groceries, medicine and necessary supplies
  • Medial or health care needs including compassionate requirements and looking after the vulnerable; and
  • exercise within their neighborhood, but only with one other person and only for one hour per day.

Remedial massage and myotherapy has not been specifically listed as being exempt from closure, but massage parlour is specifically listed. There are currently no definitions listed on their website to determine who falls into this category.

Therefore, our understanding is that remedial massage and myotherapy will not be able to practice routine services during this five-day lockdown period. We will continue to seek clarification on this from the Western Australian government.

Masks must be worn at all times when outside of your place of residence, this includes workplaces and on public transport.

9. 1 May 2020 - Manual Therapists as Essential Services

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

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, ANTA, ATMS, Massage and Myotherapy and us, MA 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

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

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

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

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

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 health service 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

15. 27 March 2020 - COVID-19 | Joint Association Statement

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