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Posted on 28 May 2019
Maternity and newborn
Paediatric

This consultation has now closed.

By Donna Markham – Chief Allied Health Officer, Safer Care Victoria

When I first heard that Safer Care Victoria was undertaking a review into the clinical practice of spinal manipulation by chiropractors I had very mixed feelings. Now, as the Chief Allied Health Officer I’m responsible for leading the review and developing recommendations on the use of this practice on children under 12.

As an evidence based practitioner it’s really important to me that we know whether our practices are providing benefit or creating unintended harm. And as a mother of two young children I also know how important it is to have information and choices about the types of care that you think may benefit your child.

There are many treatments available that parents choose for their children which may or may not have evidence of benefit. Being a parent can be incredibly stressful, and even more so when your child is unwell or in pain. At times you are willing to try anything if you think it might help your child.

For many families, Chiropractors are an important member within the multi disciplinary team providing care for their child. While this review is looking specifically at spinal manipulation in children under 12, we acknowledge that chiropractors provide much broader support to their patients and families.

The review into the practice of spinal manipulation on children under 12 is a highly controversial topic. I have no doubt this is going to create some uncomfortable conversations not only in Victoria but across Australia. But I encourage you not to shy away from having those conversations.  

This is the very reason that we have opened a public consultation. We want to hear from the public and practitioners alike about their experiences and their stories.

I encourage all healthcare practitioners to share their experience, not just those who provide this practice. We are looking for a broad range of views to help us get a better understanding of the perceived benefit or harm to children under 12.

In addition to the public consultation, the independent panel are also undertaking a rigorous analysis of the evidence. Collectively I hope  these two sources of information will allow the panel to provide advice to Safer Care Victoria and share recommendations to the Victorian Minister for Health.

I know that by asking questions about the clinical safety of certain interventions we are stepping into very sensitive territory. There is a lot that we do in modern healthcare that may not have evidence of benefit or harm. This is something that we need to keep in mind as we conduct our review.

If you have a view about this practice, whether positive or negative, I strongly encourage you to have a say. Visit engage.vic.gov.au.

The consultation is open until 21 June 2019.

Page last updated: 25 Jun 2019