Warning on 'rogue' therapists

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The Independent Online
PATIENTS must be protected from 'rogue' alternative therapists who set themselves up as chiropractors without any training or formal qualifications, health experts warned yesterday, writes Liz Hunt.

A King's Fund report calling for statutory regulation of chiropractors - who treat disorders of the spine, joints and muscles by manipulation - says the number of practitioners is set to double in the next five years as demand for treatment grows.

There are about 800 chiropractors on voluntary registers maintained by three organisations. But anyone can set themselves up as one and no checks are made. 'There is no doubt that chiropractic does work, but in the wrong hands and on the wrong patients it can certainly do harm,' said Ian Hutchinson, vice-president of the British Chiropractic Association. Chiropractic is the second most popular alternative therapy (after acupuncture) and 75,000 people a week are being treated, he said.

Between 8 and 9 per cent of patients are usually referred on to a GP by a chiropractor. 'They come in with serious underlying diseases, including cancer, and the practitioner is not trained to recognise the condition,' Mr Hutchinson said.

The King's Fund Chiropractic Report; King's Fund Centre Bookshop, 126 Albert Street, London NW1 7NF; pounds 5.95.