Chiro profession out of control : RACGP

4 minute read

The RACGP has likened the chiro profession to a raging bull and says enough is enough


The RACGP has come out swinging against the regulatory body for chiropractors saying that they have now proven themselves incapable of governing the profession and it is now a public safety issue

The RACGP has clarified its position on the chiro-war that erupted earlier this week after an ABC Background Briefing investigation into the profession, by saying that the appalling response of both the Chiropractic Board of Australia (CBA) and the Chiropractic Association of Australia (CAA) to the program on Sunday demonstrates that the profession has no effective governance, is out of control and therefore unsafe for anyone to use.

Both the RACGP President Dr Frank Jones, and chair of the expert committee on quality care Dr Evan Ackermann, have come out swinging in the last 24 hours in the media saying they’ve had enough of the promise that the profession will actually “professionalise” and rein-in cowboy operators.

“The Chiropractic Board of Australia’s response to the revelations in this program were pathetic and show that they not capable of governing their own profession,” Dr Ackermann told TMR.

“No one in these organisations came out and said that the practices being exposed in this investigation [one video shows a Melbourne based chiro manipulating the spine of a 4 day old child] had no evidence to support their use and were professionally irresponsible.

“These bodies were supposed to be moving to position themselves as evidence based MSK therapists, but the reality is, shows like this have exposed that the profession remains rife with feral groups and the problem is growing, not getting better.

“It’s a serious public safety issue and the RACGP has to make a stand on it in the public interest,” Dr Ackermann said.

He said that although some GPs will leap to defend a core of chiropractors who practice in a professional manner and in close association with their local GP, the problem is that if the CBA and CAA has no desire or ability to rein in these outlying groups, everyone was unsafe attending a chiropractor.

“That is why the RACGP is now recommending to all GPs that they do not refer to any chiropractors,” Dr Ackermann said.

The CBA is the regulatory body overseen by AHPRA that historically has been seen as the body best positioned to push the sector to professionalise. But industry commentators are now saying that they have proven toothless and ineffective.

Dr Ken Harvey, associate professor at the school of public health and preventive medicine, Monash University,  writing in The Age newspaper in January called for the current board to be sacked, citing that large numbers of practitioners continue to flout false advertising rules, serious complaints are not being investigated and that the CBA still refers to the concept of subluxation.

“This is despite the Chiropractic Australia and the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia agree with the UK General Chiropractic Council, which has produced the following policy statement: The chiropractic vertebral subluxation complex is an historical concept but it remains a theoretical model. It is not supported by any clinical research evidence that would allow claims to be made that it is the cause of disease.

“Despite hundreds of complaints about unethical advertising over many years and calls to act on practitioners who promote anti-vaccination beliefs the Chiropractic Board has consistently failed to protect the public from misleading and deceptive conduct,” Dr Harvey said.

“If the ABC is a modern day matador attempting to engage the bull that is the chiro profession, I’m afraid the bull  just ran straight through the red cape and into the crowd,” Dr Ackermann told TMR. “It’s time to give serious consideration to getting them out of the ring.”







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