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Australian Chiropractors Association Publishes Submission to Safer Care Victoria Independent Review into Chiropractic Spine Care For Children.

June 28, 2019

PRESS RELEASE

Following the publication in Australia earlier this year of a video showing a chiropractor treating a baby, the Health Minster for the state of Victoria called for the prohibition of chiropractic spinal manipulation for children under the age of 12 years. As a result, an independent panel has been appointed by Safer Care Victoria to examine the evidence and provide recommendations for the chiropractic care of children.

The role of the panel is to (a) examine and assess the available evidence, including information from consumers, providers, and other stakeholders, for the use of spinal manipulation by chiropractors on children less than 12 years of age and (b) provide recommendations regarding this practice to the Victorian Minister for Health.
Members of the public and key stakeholders, including the WFC’s member for Australia, the Australia Chiropractors Association (AusCA), were invited to submit observations. The AusCA’s submission can be read here.

The AusCA has drawn heavily in its response on the principles of evidence-based, people-centered, interprofessional and collaborative  (EPIC) care.

Points to note are as follows:

1.    The AusCA has taken a strongly evidence-based approach to its response, emphasising the safety and protection of the public, while setting out its position on the role of chiropractors in the Australian health care system.

2.    The document draws attention to the need for chiropractors to practice ethically, competently and professionally and in line with the code of conduct as drafted by the Chiropractic Board of Australia.

3.    The need for chiropractors to possess an approved qualification from an approved educational institution is emphasised.

4.    The AusCA has clearly defined spine care as the major or defining clinical purpose, with chiropractors being defined as community-based primary care health providers.

5.    The international, interdisciplinary evidence base for chiropractic is emphasised. The challenges of effective knowledge translation are described (noting that in general medicine, knowledge translation can sometimes take 15 years or more).

6.    Integration into the health care system is described, with chiropractic being described as a popular, highly utilised profession.

7.    In respect of infants, children and adolescents, evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies for musculoskeletal conditions are emphasised.

8.     The report describes 30,000 treatments per week (8-10% of all treatment provided) being provided to the paediatric population in Australia.

9.     The report emphasises the safety of chiropractic treatment by reference to 2 systematic reviews and insurance data from Scandinavia.

10.    The duty binding on chiropractors to obtain informed consent to care is supported.

11.    The report sets out the levels of effectiveness for manual therapies for paediatric conditions, noting its variable quality (in line with other professions) but stating that it is mostly ‘moderate-positive’ or ‘inconclusive-favourable’.

12.    The document states that there is no evidence that would support restriction of parental or patient choice when seeking chiropractic care for children under 12 years as there is no evidence of harm. There is, however, expressed outcome of benefit.

13.    The submission calls for a considered response by the Victoria government, noting that similar restrictions on the provision of care to those proposed have never been implemented. Instead, guidelines that minimise harm and define good practice have helped to ensure that consumers make informed choices about the care they receive have been introduced.

14.    The AusCA calls for:

a.    A trial of monitoring care, including outcomes, for children under 12 years;
b.    Refinement of industry-led standards and clinical guidelines informed by best practice, including CPD/CE and consensus approaches to care including interprofessional understanding;
c.     A commitment to knowledge translation;
d.    A call for greater support of research in investigating the role of chiropractors in the treatment of children.


AusCAAustralian Chiropractors Association

The Australian Chiropractors Association is the peak body for the chiropractic profession in Australia. Representing over 3000 members, it provides a strong, unified voice for chiropractors in Australia. Its work involves advocacy, membership services, research, public engagement and governance. Its current president is Dr Anthony Coxon.

The Australian Chiropractors Association is the WFC member for Australia and is located in the WFC’s Pacific Region.

 

 

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