Not Enough Chiropractors?

Last week, Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration, announced a major overhaul of the Skilled Migration program. The Skilled Occupation List, that specifies what kind of workers are eligible for the Skilled Migration program, has been slashed from 432 professions to 181. The policy change means that people in a whole range of occupations, such as pharmacists, dance instructors and art teachers will no longer be able to apply for entry into Australia under the Skilled Migration program.

The rationale for this change, we are told, is to gear the program to supplying Australia with professionals that it really needs. What is of concern to skeptics is that the Federal Government has determined that Australia still has a need for more chiropractors.

Chiropractic is politely regarded as an Alternative Medicine. It was pioneered in the 1890s by Daniel David Palmer who had formerly practised magnetic healing. Palmer’s central tenet was that 95% of all illness is caused by vertebral misalignment, so that chiropractic manipulations can be used as a cure for most illness. Palmer claimed success in using chiropractic to cure deafness and tuberculosis. His confidence in his own system was proportionate to his contempt of orthodox medical interventions such as vaccination and surgery. Contemporary practitioners are free to retain many eccentric ideas of Palmer without sanction from their professional organisations.

Given that the the efficacy of chiropractic is disputed for most interventions aside from treating lower back pain, the Australian Skeptics wonder how a skill shortage of Chiropractors has been identified. Has this been through a genuine needs based evaluation or if it has been based on a self-assessment by the chiropractors’ professional associations?

Perhaps, if more local chiropractors could restrict themselves to practising evidence based health interventions and avoided wasting their time on unproven, unnecessary or dangerous interventions, such as treating colic in babies, cervical manipulations and spreading vaccine misinformation, their work load might be lightened enough to reduce this current skill shortage.