Patients have 30% less choice

30% of patients’ choice of doctor under threat

Proposed changes to regulation by the Medical Board of Australia will single out medical practitioners who practice supposed ‘unconventional’ medicine threatening patients’ freedom of choice.

Effectively the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) is proposing one set of rules for ‘conventional’ medical practitioners and another more stringent set for those providing ‘complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments’. The move comes hot on the heels of Monday’s removal of private health fund rebates for natural therapies.

According to Marcus Blackmore AM, “The MBA proposal lumps together ‘complementary medicine with unconventional medicine and emerging therapies’ into a single definition. They’re not the same.

About 30% of Australian GPs utilise some aspect of complementary medicine within their medical practice; it could even be argued that this is current conventional medicine. These are highly trained, specialist doctors educated beyond their medical tertiary qualifications.

Blackmore said, “As in any profession there are good and bad practitioners. We can’t have one rule for some practitioners and one rule for others. The key is ensuring regulation is focussed on the health and safety of ALL Australians. There should be only ONE set of good practice guidelines that ALL doctors should follow.

This latest act, combined with the removal of natural therapies, is a step backwards in time and an indictment on the progress of healthcare in Australia. We need to be open to taking a holistic approach to treatment and embracing new and innovative medical practices.

If these regulations go through, any doctor practicing safe and effective Integrative Medicine may find themselves breaching the regulations and may be subject to disciplinary action from the MBA’s regulatory branch, AHPRA, including deregistration. What is clear is that such a threat will deter a number of practitioners and, ultimately, limit patient choice.

Read Blackmores Group Interim CEO, Marcus Blackmore's open letter on this critical issue here.


Have your say by the 30 June 2019

Only with feedback from the public received by 30 June 2019 will these regulations be withdrawn. Let the Medical Board of Australia know why they should leave your doctors to practise as they already do, as outlined in ‘Option one’ (do not introduce new regulations) on page 2 of the proposal.

Visit the Medical Board of Australia website to download and read the proposal.

Submissions can be made by email marked ‘Consultation on complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments’. These should be sent by close of business 30 June 2019.


Further information

Integrative Medicine Freedom of Choice

Complementary Medicines Australia position statement

FX Medicine - Complementary Medicine Under Siege with Prof. Stephen Myers

FX Medicine – Concerns over Complementary Medicine Suppression with Dr Penny Caldicott

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