The scope of practice (otherwise known as how you practice as a naturopath or Western medical herbalist) is one of the most contentious areas surrounding future registration.
Many practitioners are concerned that once registered, the government will restrict they way they practice, eliminating modalities that they use, or limiting the use of some herbs or similar.
This is not the case.
So what is the definition of the scope of practice? It is the procedures, behaviours, and methods that the licensed practitioner is allowed to use during treatment of a patient. It is based on the practitionerâ€™s education and level of competencies.
A scope of practice is purposefully broad in definition, so as to encompass the nature of a particular profession.
So, for example the scope of practice for Dental practitioners as mentioned on the AHPRA website â€œA dental practitioner can perform dental procedures for which they have been formally educated and trained in programs of study approved by the Board and in which they are competent.â€ http://www.dentalboard.gov.au/Codes-Guidelines/Policies-Codes-Guidelines/Guidelines-Scope-of-practice.aspx
The Chinese Medicine scope of practice declares that it is somewhat up to the practitioners to judge themselves. The AHPRA website states â€œScope of practice will always require some level of self appraisal. For this reason, it cannot be said all practitioners having registration can provide exactly the same services. The type of registration merely establishes an entitlement to use the protected titles, but each practitioner must self-assess their own scope of practice based on their training, qualifications and experience.â€
As long as you practice within your areas of training, and are not grossly negligent, you can continue to treat patients how you have always treated them. As history and experience has shown with the professions already registered with AHPRA, the scope of practice is as broad as your education and experience.
That is one of the beauties of naturopathy and Western herbalism â€“ the diversity of their practitioners and this will not change under statutory registration.