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Chiropractic Journal of Australia : CJA September 2013
Chiropractic Journal of Australia Volume 43 Number 3 September 2013 91 SURVEY OF GENERAL PUBLIC BROWN et al Appendix 1: General Public Questionnaire The questionnaire is available from http://chiro.mq.edu. au/Research/projects/Workforce_Study_General_Public_ Survey.pdf Most of the participants who reported using chiropractic were satisfed or highly satisfed with the services provided. Although the number of those dissatisfed with chiropractic treatment is rather low, it is imperative for future research to try to establish the main reasons for dissatisfaction in this subset of patients. The comments received from the respondents who reported that they had never used chiropractic services before are also instructive. Some of the main concerns were the cost and lack of referral from medical practitioners. One may hypothesise that better integration of chiropractic within the Australian health system would almost inevitably lead to a signifcant increase in the number of patients. One of the ways to achieve this might be through better collaboration and integration with mainstream medicine and allied medical professions such as physiotherapy. The latter, although not a primary healthcare provider, has several common attributes with chiropractic, and the two disciplines, as this study seems to show, are seen as most successful in relieving symptoms. The cooperation could be sought at different levels - individual practitioners, professional organisations and academic institutions. The last group is perhaps in the best position to further the process through collaborative education and research projects. These collaborative and integrative endeavours would also be an antidote against the above mentioned challenges to the effcacy of chiropractic and its place in university settings. Other frequent reasons why chiropractic services were not utilised were the participant's lack of knowledge of chiropractic and concern about safety. This implies that better public understanding of chiropractic could lead to further increase in the number of patients. The current survey suggests that personal philosophy is an important factor in the choice of health practitioner. Therefore, one might expect, that accurate and reliable information (particularly that which is based on reliable scientifc research) on chiropractic, its nature, focus and effcacy (as a primary care provider) might play an important role in the decision making process of patients. Furthermore, participants in this survey tended to agree that with respect to treatment, improving general health and well-being was more important than focusing on symptoms alone. Potential consumers of chiropractic have to be aware of the fact that improvement of general health and well-being are among the main focuses of chiropractic care. Active engagement in education and the public presentation of chiropractic is particularly important in light of the recent assessment, according to which Australian media reporting on both CAM and conventional medicine is far from ideal.18 Individual chiropractors in conjunction with institutions could perhaps play a more engaging role in enhancing public understanding of chiropractic. Similar suggestions concerning informing and education general public was advanced in a previous study of Australia's general public attitude towards chiropractic.17 CONCLUSIONS This study concurs with other similar studies by suggesting that chiropractic is a thriving profession in Australia. There seems to exist a need for chiropractic services, particularly in attending to the highly prevalent realm of musculoskeletal disorders. A signifcant proportion of the Australian adult population, it would appear, already utilises chiropractic services and a considerable number of this subgroup of the population is satisfed with the service provided. It is suggested that chiropractic can make its place within the Australian health system even more prominent if these services were better integrated and covered by national insurance schemes, and if concrete steps were carried out to further improve profession's image as a primary health care provider. Acknowledgements The Work Force Study was funded by the Chiropractors' Association of Australia National (CAAN) and Macquarie University. No other fnancial support was provided for this research. The authors did not receive any fnancial incentives for this research. REFERENCES 1. Frass M, Strassl LP, Friehs, H, Mülner M, Kundi M, Kaye AD. Use and acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine among the general population and medical personnel: a systematic review. Ochsner J. 2012;12:45--56. 2. Xue CCL, Zhang AL, Lin V, Da Costa C, Story DF. Complementary and alternative medicine use in Australia: a national population-based survey. J Altern Complem Med. 2007;13:643-50. 3. Xue CCL, Zhang AL, Lin V, Myers R, Polus B, Story DF. Acupunc- ture, chiropractic and osteopathy use in Australia: a national population survey. BMC Public Health. 2008; 8:105. 4. MacLennan AH, Myers SP, Taylor AW. The continuing use of com- plementary and alternative medicine in South Australia: costs and beliefs in 2004. Med J Aust. 2006; 84:27--31. 5. Australian Bureau of Satistics. Australian Social Trends - Article: Complementary Therapies, Australia, 2008. 6. MacLennan AH, Morrison RGB. Tertiary education institutions should not offer pseudoscientifc medical courses. Med J Aust. 2012;196:225- 6. 7. Coulter ID, Williams EM. The rise and rise of complementary and alternative medicine: a sociological perspective. Med J Aust. 2004;180:587-9. 8. Ernst E. Prevalence of use of complementary/alternative medicine: a systematic review. Bull World Health Organ. 2000; 78:252-7. 9. Fernandez-Caamano R, Bonello R, Eaton S, Štrkalj G. Assessment and modelling of chiropractic and allied healthcare in Australia: background and need for a formal investigation. Chiropr J Aust. 2009;39:127-31. 10. Eaton S, Bonello R, Fernandez-Caamano R, Štrkalj G, Brown BT, Green H, Graham PL. Demographic characteristics and perceptions of supply and demand of chiropractic services in Australia: results from stage 1 of the work force study survey. Chiropr J Aust. 2012;42:82- 90. 11. Eaton S, Bonello R, Green H, Graham PL, Štrkalj G, Fernandez- Caamano R. Chiropractic Workforce Study 2012: A country-wide investigation into the nature and supply of chiropractic services across Australia. Unpublished report, Macquarie University, Sydney. 12. Australian Bureau of Statistics [Internet]. 2012. Census data (2011); [accessed 9 November 2012] Available from: http://www.abs.gov. au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/data?opendocument#from- banner=LN
CJA June 2013
CJA December 2013