Independent registration for naturopaths and herbalists in Australia: The coming of age of an ancient profession in contemporary healthcare

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine, 2013, 25 (3)
Issue Date:
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Recent changes in the healthcare landscape in Australia have prompted renewed debate regarding the most appropriate regulatory model for naturopaths and herbalists. Numerous government reports have recommended independent statutory regulation yet naturopaths and Western herbalists are yet to be included in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. This has left professional associations to carry the administrative burden and manage the conflicting interests of practitioner regulation and professional advocacy. The outcome of this self-regulatory model has damaged advancement of these professions through limiting the scope of professional associations to promote the value of practitioners within contemporary healthcare. It has also left naturopaths and Western herbalists vulnerable to health policy reform which impact on unregistered practitioners. In response, an independent registration body, the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH) has been established which mirrors the NRAS process and offers legitimacy to the professions whilst also safeguarding the public. This paper outlines: the history of the registration debate in Australia; the scope and role of ARONAH; the relationship between ARONAH and the existing professional associations and the rationale underpinning important standards and guidelines developed by ARONAH for its members. © National Herbalists Association of Australia 2013.
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