Naturopaths join forces to call for regulation
CONCERN that lives may be at risk in the hands of untrained naturopaths has prompted a group of Northern NSW practitioners to have the profession regulated.
“It's a matter of national safety,” Alstonville naturopath Angela Doolan said.
Ms Doolan said that two people in NSW had died under the treatment of untrained naturopaths in the past eight years.
Currently, anybody can call themselves a naturopath and set up a practice.
A group called Naturopaths for Regulation, of which Ms Doolan is a member, is calling for a national regulation and accreditation scheme, which will set down standards for practitioners.
The group wants to see a minimum standard of education for naturopaths.
“A bachelor's degree should be the minimum,” Ms Dolan said.
The group also wants the power to suspend people who are a threat to public safety.
“Last week a Melbourne naturopath was jailed for 16 years (for sexually assaulting patients over a 20-year period), but was able to continue to practise while under investigation,” Ms Doolan said.
She said that Australia's 3000 trained naturopaths were very safe.
“Complementary medicine accounts for 3 per cent of all adverse reactions,” she said.
Ms Saffin said naturopaths provided vital health care for many North Coast people.
“Many of us have our naturopath, along with our GPs,” she said.
Ms Saffin said it was important that a national regulation scheme be introduced to ensure a high level of health care was delivered.
Southern Cross University Natural and Complimentary Medicine School head Dr Hans Wohlmuth said the current situation was not good for the general public.
“People need to be protected from unqualified practitioners,” he said.
Dr Wohlmuth said regulation would assist the profession to play a bigger role in the health care and management of the nation's rapidly aging population.