The prospect of naturopaths and herbalists gaining formal registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is causing consternation among GPs, with just over half of participants in a Medical Observer poll saying they favoured the move.
While it was a small poll of only 94 web poll votes, 61% believed the two groups should be registered by AHPRA.
The Observer says “The poll comes amid an ongoing consultation by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council on the need to better regulate unregistered health practitioners. Options for the introduction of voluntary or statutory codes of conduct for unregistered health professionals have been put forward in a consultation paper.”
The Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association chair Chris Brooks said the proposed codes did not go far enough and registration was needed, the Observer noted.
Formal registration, Brooks said, would help “weed out” unprofessional and substandard practitioners while regulating education and ethical standards.
But some GPs voiced concern that such a move would send the wrong message.
The Observer quotes Dr Alistair Vickery, professor of general practice at the University of Western Australia, who said that until there was greater evidence supporting the efficacy of naturopathic and herbalist treatments, formal registration would give these professions too much recognition.