Should naturopaths be regulated in Australia?

There are increased calls for naturopths to be registered in Australia, following the near-death of an eight month old boy.

The mother of the boy took her son to see the naturopath for his eczema. It’s alleged the naturopath told the mother to stop all medical and dermatological treatments for the child, and restrict his diet.

The child was later admitted to hospital suffering from malnourishment.

The naturopath and the mother have both been charged. The case has reignited the debate for naturopaths to be registered. Currently, naturopaths can opt to join a voluntary regulation scheme, and the unregistered health practitioners Code of Conduct also govern them. But many argue that these don’t go far enough.

Dr Jon Wardle is a Chancellor’s Research Fellow at the University Technology Sydney and Head of Policy, Regulatory and Legislative Stream at the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine. He is a proponent for regulation, which he believes would stop dubious practitioners before things get worse.

Image: Philippe Put on Flickr.

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