Registering Chinese practitioners lends false credibility

Alarm bells sound on registration of Chinese medicine.

The federal government’s decision to register Chinese medical practitioners in the same way as other health professionals is a potentially dangerous endorsement of unproven treatments, doctors say.

From July 1, it will be mandatory for practitioners and students to be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, which will also manage complaints and disciplinary processes as well as assessing practitioners trained overseas who wish to practice in Australia.

Registered individuals must commit to maintaining and developing their skills and spending at least 20 hours a year in training, according to standards agreed in January.

But a respiratory medicine specialist, Hubertus Jersmann, said it risked misleading patients, who were likely to believe that practitioners’ registration was comparable to that of doctors.

Tip: @blue_wode on Twitter

This is the problem:

“Registration gives people legitimacy,” said Associate Professor Jersmann, of Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“In the eyes of the public they sound exactly like a GP”…

Chiropractors are registered in many places. Some homeopaths and naturopaths are registered. Even astrologers can be “certified”. Whether they be sham institutions that just support that field or legitimate governmental agencies, the consumer may not be able to tell the difference between licensed, registered, and certified.

I have seen many professions “licensed” for what appear to be good intentions but really is just to add to a sense of “professionalism”.