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Complaints policy and procedure

 

Policy statement

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is committed to providing a good quality service in dealing with members of the public, practitioners and other professional organisations. It takes all complaints seriously and sees them as an important tool for continually improving our service.

Introduction


In considering complaints we aim to apply the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's Principles of Good Administration, which are:

  • getting it right
  • being customer focused
  • being open and accountable
  • acting fairly and proportionately
  • putting things right
  • seeking continuous improvement

Who can complain?

Anyone who comes into contact with our organisation and who is unhappy or dissatisfied with the service they receive can complain. For example, you may wish to complain about the way we answered your query or correspondence or any delay in getting back to you.

Who do I complain to?

We have a three-stage process for dealing with your complaint. If you remain dissatisfied at any stage, you have the option of taking your complaint to the next stage.

Stage 1

Contact the manager of the member of staff who has been dealing with your matter

Stage 2

Write to the chief executive of the BAcC

 

Chief Executive Officer
British Acupuncture Council,
63 Jeddo Road,
London W12 9HQ

email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

phone 020 8735 1200
fax 020 8735 0404

 

Stage 3

Write to the chair of the BAcC's Governing Board

How long will it take to deal with my complaint?

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within seven working days and aim to give you a full response within twenty-eight days. On rare occasions this might take longer, if there is a lack of documentary evidence or the matter needs further investigation.

 

What to do if you are unhappy about the service you have received from your practitioner

Step 1

Express your concerns to your practitioner or if he/she works in a larger practice, to the practice manager either by phone, by letter, by email or in person.

Step 2

If you remain unhappy you can make a complaint to the British Acupuncture Council by letter, fax or mail marked Private and Confidential. We will need:

  • your name and contact details
  • the name and address of the member you are complaining about
  • details of what happened, when and where

If you find it difficult to make your complaint in writing please let us know and we will help you.

 

Our contact details:

 

Ethics Department,
British Acupuncture Council,
63 Jeddo Road,
London W12 9HQ

email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

phone 020 8735 1205
fax 020 8735 0404

 

Step 3

The Ethics Department will check to see if the BAcC can deal with your complaint or concern. The BAcC can only deal with matters which relate to:

  • treatment, care or advice given by a BAcC member
  • any aspect of the professional or personal behaviour of a BAcC member
  • the physical or mental health of a BAcC member

If the BAcC can deal with your complaint the Ethics Department will send you some forms to complete, together with information about complaints.

Please note, the BAcC cannot grant compensation, however all our members are covered by comprehensive professional indemnity insurance, details of which can be obtained from the BAcC or from your practitioner.

Since February 2013, patients and the public have been able to choose an acupuncturist belonging to a register vetted and approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care. The BAcC's register has been accredited under a new scheme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body which is accountable to Parliament.

1. The names of all members shall appear on the register together with their practice details. It shall be the duty of each member to inform the Membership Manager of any changes.

2. Only in exceptional circumstances will consideration be given not to include the member’s name and/or practice details on the publicly available register.

Such circumstances shall include:

  1. The member or a member of their family has been, or is likely to be, the subject of harassment by an individual or individuals, and knowledge of the member’s name or practice details might put them at risk.
  2. The member or a member of their family has been threatened or assaulted by an individual or individuals and their safety is at risk.
  3. By order of the Court.
  4. By reason of any witness protection programme or similar scheme.
  5. Any other exceptional circumstance which the member or their named representative may present in writing for consideration by the Registrar.

3. Members who inform the Membership Manager in writing that they intend to retire within 12 months will be allowed to remove their practice details, although not their names, from the register to enable them to wind down their practices.

4. In the event that the circumstances outlined in Para 2, subsections 1-4, do not provide clear evidence of a need to remove the member’s name or practice details from the publicly available Register, the Membership Manager will refer the case to the Registrar for further consideration.

5. The Registrar’s decision relating to any matters raised under Par 2 sections 1-5 will be final and not subject to further appeal.

 

The British Acupuncture Council's Governing Board (GB) is made up of five practitioner members (including the Chair) and four lay representatives. The GB oversees the work of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and, for example, agrees the Council's position regarding negotiations with government and statutory bodies. The Board ensures that the BAcC meets its responsibilities to promote the benefits of traditional acupuncture as a valid system of healthcare; safeguard the public; promote members' interests and uphold benchmark standards of education and practice.

The GB is helped by a number of subcommittees and advisory groups working on specific areas, including finance, education, professional conduct, and research. Appropriate lay representation ensures that the BAcC's processes for developing policies and guidelines are fair, transparent, free from bias, and serve the public interest at all times. A patient and public involvement group also reviews the BAcC's Strategy, Business Plans, and public facing activity, such as complaints procedures. Members of all BAcC committees and advisory groups agree to abide by the seven key principles of public office - the Nolan Principles. Please contact us for an up-to-date list of BAcC subcommittees and advisory groups.

At every meeting of the GB its members are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Board regularly reviews its good governance practice.

Dates of Governing Board meetings for 2014:

Thursday 16 October

If you wish to attend a Governing Board meeting as an Observer, please review the policy below for more information and contact details.

Current practitioner members on the BAcC Governing Board

  • Charles Buck (chair)
  • Ron Bishop
  • Dr Ming Cheng
  • Isobel Cosgrove
  • Philip Rose-Neil

Current lay representatives on the BAcC Governing Board

  • David Abrahams
  •  Charles Cecil
  •  Shelley Adams
  • Peter Ward

A further lay representative is to be appointed in 2014.

In addition, non-voting attendees of the BAcC Governing Board include a lay Treasurer, Rob Strange MBE, and a Company Secretary, John Wheeler.

The day-to-day work of the BAcC is carried out in our West London office by a small experienced team, led by Chief Executive Officer Nick Pahl. Many of the staff are qualified acupuncturists who also offer skills in other specialist areas; the rest of the team bring vital knowledge and experience from other fields of business. This wide spread of expertise helps us provide a rapid and authoritative response to both members of the public and our members.

The BAcC funds several important initiatives including: the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB), an independent body responsible for setting standards in teaching institutions providing undergraduate training in acupuncture; the Acupuncture Research Resource Centre (ARRC), which provides information, advice and support on research to acupuncturists; and the European Journal of Oriental Medicine (EJOM), published twice a year.

The BAcC is also a founder member of the European Traditional Chinese Medicine Association (ETCMA).

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) was passed in order to implement the European Data Protection Directive and applies to all personal data which are held either electronically or in a manual filing system.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is committed to a policy of protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals with respect to the processing of their personal data.

The BAcC holds personal information about individuals such as employees, members, applicants, subcontractors, suppliers and others, defined as 'data subjects' in the Act. Such data must only be processed in accordance with this policy. Any breach of the policy may result in the BAcC, as the registered 'data controller', being liable in law for the consequences of the breach. This liability may extend to the individual processing the data, and to his/her line manager under certain circumstances.

Principles

All data users must comply with the eight data protection principles. The principles define how data can be legally processed. 'Processing' includes obtaining, recording, holding or storing information and carrying out any operations on the data, including adaptation, alteration, use, disclosure, transfer, erasure, and destruction.

  1. Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully.
  2. Personal data shall be held only for one or more specified and lawful purposes and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or purposes.
  3. Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which it is processed.
  4. Personal data shall be accurate and where necessary kept up to date.
  5. Personal data processed for any purpose shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose.
  6. Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subject under the DPA.
  7. Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of the data.
  8. Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or a territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.

The DPA defines both 'personal data' and 'sensitive personal data'. Data users must ensure that the necessary conditions are satisfied for the processing of personal data and in addition that the extra, more stringent, conditions are satisfied for the processing of sensitive personal data.

Personal data has a broad ranging definition and can include not only items such as home and work address, age, telephone number and schools attended but also photographs and other images. Sensitive personal data consists of racial/ethnic origin, political opinion, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health or condition, sexual life and criminal record.

Responsibilities of data users

All members of BAcC staff, Board members, committee members and subcontractors have a responsibility to ensure compliance with the Act and this policy, and to develop and encourage good information handling practices, within their areas of responsibility. All users of personal data within the BAcC have a responsibility to ensure that they process the data in accordance with the eight data protection principles and the other conditions set down in the DPA.

The BAcC will perform periodic audits to ensure compliance with this policy and the Act and to ensure that the notification is kept up to date.

Designated data controller

The BAcC's HR and facilities manager is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Data Protection Act and implementation of this policy on behalf of the BAcC. She can be contacted at:

British Acupuncture Council
63 Jeddo Road
London W12 9HQ

020 8735 0400
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Access to data

The Act gives data subjects a right to access personal data held about them by the BAcC, and allows the BAcC to charge a fee for such access (up to a prescribed maximum). The BAcC will seek to take an approach which facilitates access to their personal data by individuals without them having to make formal subject access requests under the Act, whilst acting within the data protection principles. A record must be kept of all requests for access to personal data.

All formal subject access requests must be responded to within the terms laid down by the Act, and must be notified to the chief executive and HR and facilities manager as soon as they are received.

The BAcC aims to comply with requests for access to personal information as quickly as possible but will ensure that it is provided within 40 days of receipt of a request unless there is good reason for delay. In such cases, the reason for delay will be explained in writing to the individual making the request. The BAcC will normally charge the prescribed maximum fee (currently £10) for subject access requests.

Subject consent

The need to process data for normal purposes will have been communicated to all data subjects. In some cases, if the data is sensitive, for example information about health, race or gender, express consent to process the data must be obtained. Processing may be necessary to operate BAcC policies, such as health and safety and equal opportunities.

Retention of data

Personal data must only be kept for the length of time necessary to perform the processing for which it was collected. Some forms of data need to be retained longer than others to comply with legal and other requirements. This applies to both electronic and non-electronic personal data.

Data security

All BAcC users of personal data must ensure that all personal data they hold is kept securely. They must ensure that it is not disclosed to any unauthorised third party in any form either accidentally or otherwise.

May 2011

The Register is published by the British Acupuncture Council on an annual basis, and contains the publicly available contact details for BAcC members worldwide.This latest issue was produced in March 2012.

 

Some members are ex-directory, so if you wish to verify that an acupuncturist is a member of the BAcC, you may also call the British Acupuncture Council on 020 8735 0400

 

If you are looking for a practitioner near you, use the postcode search at the top of the page.

The BAcC aims to publish within seven days of a decision the names of those members in respect of whom it has investigated allegations and found the allegations to be well founded. It will also publish alongside the finding the section of either the Code of Professional Conduct or Code of Safe Practice of which they were found to be in breach, and the steps (if any) taken by the Committee in respect of the member so named.

 

Orders imposed by the Committee have been made to:

  • Fulfil the BAcC's role to protect members of the public
  • Maintain public confidence in the profession of acupuncture
  • Uphold the standards and conduct expected of Members

 

What the orders mean

  1. Fine - the member concerned has been fined a sum of money where there has been a lapse in standards on the part of the member concerned.
  2. Admonishment - the member's conduct or behaviour has fallen below the standard expected of a BAcC member but there has been no need to take action to remove or restrict his/her right to practise.
  3. Conditions of Practice - conditions have been imposed on the member's practice to enable him/her to take steps to remedy any deficiencies in their practice. Restrictions may be placed on the types of work that they may undertake. Conditions of practice judgements are sometimes imposed where there is evidence of incompetence or significant shortcomings in a member's practice, but where the Committee is satisfied that there is potential for the member to respond positively to re-training and supervision.
  4. Suspension - the Committee has ordered that that the member may not practise as a member of the BAcC for a for a specified period of time. During the time that that the member is suspended he/she forgoes all rights and privileges of BAcC membership.
  5. Termination - this is the most severe sanction. The individual is no longer a member of the BAcC.

 

 

Suspension orders

This section contains details of acupuncturists whose registration has been suspended pending the investigation or the final determination of a complaint. Any practitioner who is subject to a Suspension Order cannot call themselves a BAcC member during the period of suspension.

Acupuncturists Name Registration Number Term of Suspension
     

Professional Conduct Committee decisions

This section contains details of acupuncturists who have recently been the subject of a decision by the Professional Conduct Committee and the sanction imposed. The committee has the power to deliver a fine, an admonishment, impose conditions of practice, suspend the acupuncturist's registration for a set period, or permanently remove the acupuncturist's name from the Register.

Acupuncturists Name Registration Number Order/s
     

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