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National standards for naturopaths welcomed

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Brigid Veale
Published
21 October 2010
The move towards an independent Registration Board for naturopaths and herbalists has been welcomed by Southern Cross University, a leading provider of education in natural and complementary medicine.

A board made up of industry and community members has been set up to establish the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH), which will for the first time set uniform national standards in training and practice for naturopaths and western herbal medicine practitioners, and develop a register of practitioners who meet those standards.

Mr Paul Orrock, a senior lecturer in the School of Health and Human Sciences and chair of the register’s steering committee, welcomed the announcement.

“The best thing is that the public and stakeholders will soon be able to look to uniform professional standards. This will be similar to the statutory system in place in other health professions,” Mr Orrock said.

“It will make the standards uniform in education and training and in ethical practice. We believe that the industry is ready for this. There are thousands of practising naturopaths and herbalists who have been well trained and who are of a high standard.

“ARONAH’s constitution is based on the legislative requirements for all registered health professions in Australia, and the board members were chosen using a transparent, open and rigorous process by an independent Selection Panel with no connection to the professions.”

Angela Doolan, chair of the newly appointed board, said to ensure independence the Register would mirror the Federal Government’s new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for other health professionals.

“There has long been a clear need for an independent body that represents the interests of the public rather than the profession by regulating standards of training and practice,” Ms Doolan said.

“Currently, anyone can hang out their shingle as a herbalist or naturopath and practice without any training whatsoever, and with little accountability. The public is increasingly turning to herbalists and naturopaths so continuing along those lines is clearly untenable.”

The Board’s first meeting will take place in Brisbane on November 21. The Register should be available by mid-2011, allowing the public to check the credentials of their practitioner.

The Board is currently inviting interested parties to make submissions on what they believe the standards of training and practice for naturopaths and herbalists should be. Submissions can be made at the ARONAH website – www.aronah.org

Photo: Paul Orrock, senior lecturer in the School of Health and Human Sciences.

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