Chiropractors attack titles plan

CHIROPRACTORS have launched an angry attack on proposed changes to the Medical Registration Ordinance that would bar them from calling themselves 'doctors' and their workplaces 'clinics'.

The Hong Kong Chiropractors' Association president, Dr Edward Lee Tin-tak, said the amendment bill singled out his profession, while allowing veterinarians and dentists to continue using the terms. 'If this is passed, I think I'd better pack up and go,' Dr Lee said.

'Imagine telling a lawyer: 'Okay, you can practise as a lawyer, but you can't call yourself a lawyer and you can't call your office a law office'.' The proposed amendment bars anyone except a registered medical practitioner, a vet, a dentist, or someone otherwise approved by the Medical Council, from calling themselves a doctor. Anyone who flouted the rule would be subject to a fine and six months' jail.

'How can a chiropractor not be allowed to call themselves a doctor, when the qualification is called a doctorate?' Dr Lee asked.

'In Canada, the United States, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, you can work as a doctor. Some countries stipulate that you put the term behind your name, such as: 'Dr Edward Lee, chiropractor.' That's very clear cut.' Patients would lose out because chiropractors, denied acknowledgement of their qualifications, would leave Hong Kong.

Also, current students would be dissuaded from joining the profession.

But Hong Kong Medical Association president Dr Lee Kin-hung said the bill should be passed as soon as possible. 'We don't want anyone's title to mislead the public into thinking they are Western-trained specialists,' he said.