How are complementary health professions regulated in Australia? An examination of complementary health professions in the national registration and accreditation scheme

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Journal Article
Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2018, 37 pp. 6 - 12
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Objectives: This study aims to provide an empirical examination of how complementary medicine practice in Australia is actually regulated under the current national registration model. Methods: Data was obtained from Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Annual Reports for the years 2011/12–2014/15 and supplemented by the Chinese Medical Registration Board of Victoria (CMRBV) Annual Reports in 2011/12 for Chinese Medicine complaints. The data analysed includes complaint statistics, stage of closure of complaints and the outcome of complaints concerning Chinese medicine, chiropractic and osteopathy under the National Law. Results: During 2014–2015 the number of complaints per 100 registrants for was highest for the medical board (4.4), while much lower for the chiropractic (1.5), osteopath (0.7) and Chinese medicine (0.5) boards. For conventional boards, 58% of complaints were closed at the assessment stage, while 57%, 29% and 16% of complaints to the osteopath, Chinese medicine and chiropractic boards respectively were closed at the assessment stage. The decision to suspend or cancel registration of health professionals was 17% from the Chinese medicine board, 14% from the Osteopathy Board, 1.5% from the chiropractor board and 0.6% from the medical board. Conclusion: It appears that complementary medicine practitioner regulation works at least as well as conventional regulation, and at most complementary medicine boards take a stricter interpretation of misconduct though more research would need to be undertaken to state this definitively. Our findings indicate that the public are using the statutory complaint mechanisms available to them with respect to the three CM groups.
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