Call it integrated, multi-disciplined or multi-layered, but it is aimed at creating closer cooperation among health professionals.

And Wanganui osteopath Jonathon Paine, president of Osteopaths New Zealand (ONZ), is leading the charge for change.

Mr Paine said the need for much closer ties among health professionals was being promoted by ACC Minister Nikki Kaye and also Health Workforce, business unit of the National Health Board.

He said the move was "a paradigm shift", a move toward a more multi-disciplinary approach to patient care.


"In simple terms it's promoting a move away from practices working in isolation."

He has experienced this multi-disciplinary approach when he worked in the United Kingdom and said it can be easily applied in New Zealand.

"Health care is changing and the demographics of patients are changing but the model used before is not working and needs to change."

The best way to see how it would work was in the way the professions worked in chronic pain management, he said.

"Go back 10 or 15 years and chronic pain was managed by individual practitioners of one discipline who were trying to do everything.

"Modern day pain science has shown that way doesn't work and what you need is some of this and some and that and that it all comes together.

"Those in the profession need to understand it's a multi-faceted problem and needs to be treated as such."

As president of ONZ, he had spoken to the ACC Minister and it was clear her department acknowledges the need for this multi-layered approach to treatment and injury prevention.

"My role is to involve osteopathy more into that framework. Osteo has historically kept itself to itself but we need to change that.

"It's about us working with physiotherapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, masseurs - indeed, anyone working in the musculo-skeletal field."

He said no one discipline had all the answers "but all of us have got something to impart".

"It's understanding that we all have our limitations which is important in terms of patient safety. If you think you can provide everything for everyone then you're going to fall short.

"If I'm here for a patient's care as a sole clinician, then I need to acknowledge where my shortfalls are and how I can link with other practitioners and work alongside them to improve the quality of care to our patients."

Mr Paine said he was working to get meetings with the heads of the various professional groups "and I think we'll find we're all singing from the same hymn sheet".

"It can only improve the quality of health care for New Zealanders if we only talk to each other. We understand the interconnectedness of the human body. All we need to do now is understand how those difference professional disciplines can and should work together."

"ACC is an important player in this because it's virtually the paymaster for those who work in this field. If they're demanding an improved quality of care, then people have to come to the party.

"This is about creating a better model of care for our patients, and - at the end of the day - that's what we're here for."