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Chiropractic Journal of Australia : CJA June 2012
Chiropractic Journal of Australia Volume 42 Number 2 June 2012 69 public funding of chiropractic services because of the continued claim by chiropractors to be able to treat 'Type O’ conditions.” Comment: some limited Medicare treatments (5) have more recently been approved, but only on a medical referral. The Minister goes on. “I refer also to the Layton Committee’s recommendation that the Commonwealth fund, on a salaried concessional basis, a limited number of appointments of chiropractors in public hospitals and health centres. The Government could only consider such funding if it was satisfed that a workable employment agreement could be reached between the relevant State health authorities, the health care institutions and the chiropractic profession. The negotiations to bring about such an arrangement would need to be initiated by the organisations representing the chiropractic profession.” Manpower studies Manpower studies should be utilised to ascertain a balanced ratio of student and practitioner levels in relation to population numbers. Potential students also need to be able to consult a reference document that could make them aware of the opportunity of work/employment prospects in the industry. In order to maintain independence, manpower studies need to be kept at arm’s length. Therefore, producers of graduates should not be in control of such studies. Universities of course will want to maintain their independent right to determine class numbers. The results of the studies would no doubt be an infuence in the decision of the number of graduates. In the United States of America (USA), manpower studies have been conducted through the National Board of Examiners.1 A similar type of study can provide information to assist potential students to ascertain a future in the profession. It would aid the teaching institutions to assess the future numbers for classes and also assist new graduates in deciding areas for establishing practice. The information could also assist practitioners to decide on the potential of further investments within the profession. Research Another requirement for moving forward is research. The Commonwealth Government of Australia in August 1974 established a committee of Inquiry into the practises of chiropractic, osteopathy and naturopathy, especially the scientifc basis of the practises and the desirability of registering those practitioners. It comprised four eminently qualifed persons: Chairman: Emeritus Professor E. C. Webb, Dept Vice –Chancellor (Academic), Queensland - later Vice- Chancellor of Macquarie University; Dr C J Cummins, former Director- General of Public Health of New South Wales; Professor M.J.Rand, Professor of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne; Emeritus Professor R.H.Thorp, Chairman of the Council of Australian Consumers Association, and Professor of Pharmacology, University of Sydney (now retired). The committee made two recommendations in relation to research: 1. "That the Australian Government make available an annual sum of $200,000 for the support of research projects related to the maintenance of health or treatment of disease by chiropractic manipulation or other therapeutic procedures offered by non-medical practitioners. 2. That the National Health and Medical Research Council and other research -- funding bodies be asked to give special attention to support of research projects in the feld of low back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders." 2 During the course of its inquiry, 1974-1977, the Federal Inquiry Committee funded and carried out certain projects under the direction of Doctor Gordon Parker of the School of Psychiatry, University of NSW. Those studies indicated a need for the chiropractic approach to be more rigorously tested. It should be noted that one of the major reasons that the Sydney College of Chiropractic decided to amalgamate with the Macquarie University in 1990 was to further enhance the opportunities for research into the chiropractic and osteopathic practice. In welcoming the new association between the two institutions Vice-Chancellor Professor Yerbury stated: "It would provide excellent opportunities, for spinal and related research, would encourage the development of studies in anatomy in the School of Biological Sciences and would result in upgraded and professional development programs for practicing chiropractors." 3 The research intentions were not limited to the mechanical effects of manipulation for the treatment of pain and reduction or loss of physical movement. Manipulation has been performed over many hundreds of years and effcacies noted throughout the times, people of the calibre of Imhotep of the ancient Egyptians, Hippocrates of Cos, Asclepias, and the bonesetters of England, Europe and North America, Galen, Ambroise Pares, Andrew T. Still, D.D. Palmer and many others in the treatment of suffering mankind. The founder of chiropractic, D.D. Palmer declared that disease (dis ease) was due to the effect of segmental disrelationships (subluxations), so it is incumbent upon those involved in the teaching and research of the profession to vigorously research those claims. Peter Freeman, of the National Times, December 6-11, 1976 in “The case for chiropractors” stated: "this theory has not been rigorously tested, although one series of American experiments in 1973 condemned the whole theory as incorrect because nerves don't seem to be affected even when the spine is fexed and stretched to extremes." But, as Professor Webb told The National Times, "The main question is: do chiropractors do any good? If they do, it doesn't really matter if it is the result of psychological factors or just good luck -- the patient has beneftted, and so has the community.” Although Professor Webb’s statement was not a reply that some academics may appreciate, it is a reminder why the practitioners were registered, and indeed they were CURRENT CHIROPRACTIC STATUS IN AUSTRALIA 2012 DEVEREAUX
CJA March 2012
CJA September 2012