Whether you’re an Australian health practitioner or a client, it’s useful to understand what types of customer feedback, endorsements and testimonials are allowable under Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) advertising guidelines.
Even though naturopaths, herbalists, kinesiologists and some nutritionists are not a registered health profession at this time, non-registered practitioners are explicitly included.
These guidelines apply to any person (see definition of ‘advertiser’ in Appendix 1) who advertises a regulated health service or business that provides a regulated health service, including:
- registered health practitioners
- non-registered health practitioners
- individuals, and
- bodies corporate.
A court may consider these guidelines when hearing advertising offences against section 133 of the National Law.*
The video includes a few other knotty questions such as can you share testimonial from course or workshop participants, example of phrases AHPRA defines as misleading and can you call yourself anything you like?
What’s in a name?
Can Australian trained naturopaths call themselves an “ND”? It depends on what your qualification is. The ND issue is explored from 3.40 in the video. Don’t miss it!
* Some practitioners feel this wording is open to interpretation.
“The advertising provisions of the National Law apply to anyone who advertises a regulated health service, including registered health practitioners, non-registered health practitioners, individuals and bodies corporate.”
Naturopathy isn’t a regulated health service, yet the law specifically mentions it applies to non-registered health practitioners, which is confusing.
For clarification I turned to my professional association, the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA). Their member update clearly states that members must comply to the the advertising guidelines.
Health practitioners, as trusted professionals, have regulatory obligations when advertising a regulated health service. This is a reminder for members to check and correct your advertising so you comply with your legal obligations.
One area to be mindful of is the use of testimonials. Advertising must not include testimonials about a service or business: “Testimonials are prohibited because they are personal opinions from former patients or clients recommending a health service or business. Testimonials often have no scientific or objective basis which can mislead consumers about clinical services or treatment options. They also may not be a balanced source of information. Advertisers are responsible for all testimonials (solicited or unsolicited) that are published within their control, such as those on their website.”
NHAA, members update June 2018
PS: practitioner love feedback, even if we can’t share it, we’d love to hear it!
Need help? Gill has been nurturing health practitioners through business mentoring and professional supervision for twenty years. For heart-centered, down-to-earth support book an exploratory mentoring session.