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  1. 1

    Clive Deverall

    If Naturopaths are to be registered & accredited (who will do that?) then self-christened ‘Integrative Medical Practitioners'(IMP) should also come onto the radar. These are medical practitioners who encourage hair, sputum, nail & blood tests to arrive at a so-called ‘diagnosis’ of what your body lacks or has too much of and then ‘prescribe’ an array of dietary supplements which the practitioners sell to the patient.Most patients appear to receive the same advice/results from the expensive tests. Whereas Integrative Medicine is well established in the USA it is still in its infancy in Australia. There is no oversight in Australia of what happens in this sector from how doctors qualify in the first place and then something of a void as far as continuing education is concerned. Each IMP has a vested interest in ‘selling’ product which can lock a patient into a monthly bill of around $120 with usually no refunds. Much of this market caters for ‘the worried well’ many of whom have sufficient disposable income not to worry. And the Government isn’t too worried whilst most complementary therapies and products remain outside Medicare.Patients of IMPs can of course claim a Medicare benefit for a consultation.

  2. 2

    Neil McLachlan

    Quite apart from the important question of whether there is any credible evidence that any of this “alternative” stuff works (until this is resolved the use of the term “complementary” is premature), there is the current problem that in the desperate drive to sign up waverers to private healthcare insurance many benefits are offered for all kinds of “alternative” therapies but comparable support for such potentially useful things as exercise and dietary management programs is not.

    Since there are clear public health implications for any significant expansion of the “alternative” therapies sector (eg. reduced immunisation rates), my feeling is that this whole area could be lumped with gambling and smoking as issues of personal choice, but with a persistent and pervasive government funded advertising campaign to point out the many perils for us all of individuals continuing to make such unrealistic choices.


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