Good news from the Medical Board – you spoke and they listened.
In 2019 the Medical Board of Australia proposed new regulations that could potentially prevent doctors from recommending vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements to their patients.
Following an enormous and unprecedented response from doctors and patients, the Medical Board has just announced it will not change the existing professional standards framework.
The consultation sought feedback about whether medical practitioners offering complementary, unconventional and emerging treatments should be subject to extra regulation.
The response to the proposal was emphatic – risks in medical practice are not confined to specific areas of practice and the proposed changes would not be helpful in improving patient outcomes.
‘It is clear from the consultation that there is no simple equation linking areas of practice with risk to patients, and that high-risk practice is not confined to one area of medicine,’ said Dr Anne Tonkin, Chair of the Medical Board.
‘In effect, the solution we had proposed did not match the problem we were trying to solve and the labels we used – complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments – were not helpful in defining the level of risk posed to patients,’ she said.
The Medical Board said there was a persisting issue of patients being offered high-risk treatments that did not have an evidence base of safety and efficacy, which the consultation process confirmed was not limited to complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments. A related issue involves vulnerable patients not being provided with the information they would need to give genuinely informed consent.
‘It is clear that we need to carefully match safeguards for patients with high-risk practice, which occurs across a number of areas of medicine,’ Dr Tonkin said.
‘We need to calibrate our regulatory approach to address risk, while also acknowledging patients’ rights to make informed choices,’ Dr Tonkin said.
We would like to give credit to the Medical Board for acknowledging that their proposal was flawed and for making the correct decision in light of all the evidence presented to them.
We would particularly like to thank every one of the 13,500 people who took the time to make a submission – your voices have been heard!