Victorian Government vows to crack down on rogue chiropractors

By Natalie MacGregor

The Victorian Government is cracking down on rogue chiropractors, following claims the health practitioners can cure colic, autism and other behavioural issues.

The state’s Health Minister Jill Hennessy has written to the Chiropractic Board of Australia asking it to stamp out what she describes as dangerous and unsubstantiated claims made by some in the industry.

She has also written to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency to ensure a code of conduct is policed and enforced.

Her concern was prompted by a video, which went viral, of a chiropractor manipulating the spine of a four-day-old baby to treat colic.

“I’m also in receipt of concerns from members of the public that chiropractors are making claims that seeing a chiropractor might be able to treat autism, or colic, or other developmental issues,” she said.

“I want to know that the chiropractic board is investigating these, and I want to know that they are policing their code of conduct because there are things that might, on the face of it, sound like innocent claims, but they are potentially very, very dangerous.

“It is very clear that chiropractors cannot treat autism, [they] cannot treat colic and I’m deeply concerned to see very young babies and children being treated in this way.”

Ms Hennessy said there had even been some chiropractors promoting unsafe messages about vaccinations.

“It is so important that members of the public understand that a chiropractor is not a qualified medical practitioner, and medical advice should be sought from a qualified general practitioner,” she said.

“I am concerned that sometimes people desperate for a medical or health solution might reach out to different parts of the health workforce seeking help and advice, but it is important that all health practitioners are providing advice within the scope of their medical expertise.”

Chiropractics ‘part of’ treatment for autism

Dr Andrew Lawrence, deputy president of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, said chiropractics could be “part” of a treatment for autism.

“They’re complex conditions and they have lots of parts to them, so chiropractic can be involved in part of the delivery of treatment to children and adults on the autism spectrum,” he told 774 ABC Melbourne.

Dr Lawrence agreed the video showing the babies “did not look good”.

“The adjustment of children has been done safely for a very long time,” he said.

“That type of adjustment on four-day-old would not be recommended I wouldn’t have thought.”