Naturopaths, chiropractors and other alternative health clinics face new regulations in New South Wales, with shut down powers given to the HCCC for ‘code of conduct breaches’.
New Shut Down Powers
The New South Wales health watchdog has been given the power to shut alternative health clinics, including naturopaths and chiropractors, for not complying with its code of conduct.
Powers that came into effect this month expand the role of the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) to allow it to issue a prohibition order against an entire clinic, rather than just a practitioner.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the new rules, part of the Public Health Regulation 2022, would better ‘protect patients’ in a growing area of health services.
“These changes enable the HCCC to use their powers to prohibit health organisations from operating where they pose a risk to the health or safety of the public.
This is an important, additional step that enables the HCCC to take firm action to protect the community from health organisations which flout the rules and do not provide services in a safe and ethical way.”
Under the new amendment, the HCCC will have the power to issue a prohibition order to clinics offering services such as massage therapy, naturopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and other alternative healthcare services not complying with the code.
NSW Health cites ‘data’ showing an increasing number of complaints being made by patients.
The new power, funnily enough, does not extend to public health organisations, aged care services and licensed private health facilities.
“These services are already governed by other legislation that ensures quality assurance, and as such the HCCC is not responsible for taking action against these entities,” the minister’s office said in a statement.
CEO of the Australian Patients Association Stephen Mason told reporters that alternative health organisations “shouldn’t be outside the scope” of the watchdog and praised the reform.
The announcement is the latest blow in an ongoing attack against alternative health services in recent years, and reeks of more moves by the establishment to control medicine at all levels.
Alternative Health Attack
We have seen moves in recent years to restrict alternative medicines and practices right here at home.
In 2019, the federal government has passed health insurance reform laws that put an end to public and private health cover for a wide range of natural therapies, such as Herbalism, Yoga,Homeopathy, Naturopathy and more.
Authorities announced they would no longer subsidise for a range of natural treatments, and health insurers will no longer be able to provide cover for “non-permitted therapies”, despite them accounting for less than 1% of all benefits paid.
The moves began in 2015 when a government report concludedthat 17 natural therapies offered through health insurance “hadn’t been proven to work on patients”.
This policy, based on flawed reviews undertaken by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), formally justified rebate cuts for Natural Therapies, which had already been pre-determined before the reviews had commenced.
In 2017, the Health Department released a report on the conducted reviews, examining “the evidence of clinical efficacy, cost effectiveness, safety and quality of natural therapies”, concluding that most treatments “have been found to not be underpinned by an evidence base”.
This dismissal of alternative methods was amplified during the pandemic period.
What Doctors Don’t Tell You, a magazine that publishes the alternative healthcare news, alongside information on therapies and medicines, was pulled from supermarket shelves in 2020.
This move was made after radio host Ben Fordham slammed it as “dangerous and misleading”.
As many people begin to realise the mass deceptions and influence of Big Pharma, it seems authorities want to ensure that any alternative is quickly squashed out from the mainstream and not given support.
Of course, many communities will continue these practices.
However, any contention as ‘legitimate’ in the public space will be diminished year-by-year.
Now with the powers to completely shut down a practice or business – one that isn’t even relying on support or subsidies from the government.
We have seen these shut down powers at work during the pandemic.