Q: i am currently seeing a Chinese doctor (B.Sc China) for acupuncture and manipulative therapy. She is fully registered with the Institute of Complementary and Natural Medicine. iI note however that she is not a member of the BAcC. Should I be concerned about this?
A: You should not be concerned at all. Membership of the BAcC is not mandatory, and there are a number of other professional associations of good standing to which practitioners belong. In the absence of statutory regulation, membership of a professional body with published codes of conduct and registers, along with the rules for removing people who fail to maintain those standards, is the best guarantee of competence and behaviour.
From our knowledge of the ICNM from our earlier dealings in the Acupuncture Stakeholder Group, it sets the bar for membership in line with the World Health Organisation recommendation for degree level entry, and the fact that the practitioner trained in China is usually a good sign - Chinese training is often a great deal longer than UK training, although not structured in quite the same way as UK training. It is not always possible to tell exactly what proportion of eastern and western medicine have formed the basis of the training, but Chinese state registration is strictly policed and if someone has met the standards that is a good sign.
We should just flag a minor concern about what 'manipulative therapy' may entail. Some forms of tui na, the Chinese massage often used within TCM, are a great deal closer to chiropractic than to massage, especially in the neck area, and this may represent a slightly higher risk than the basic tui na that most do. Manipulative therapies always attract more interest from professional insurers because the risk increases slightly (although in practice lower than the risk you run of being hit by a car crossing the road to a clinic), and if the manipulation is quite powerful it might be worth asking about the extent of the practitioner's training and whether the treatment is covered by her insurers.
Other than that we wish you well with your treatment.
Two main groups of health professionals employ acupuncture techniques in their clinical work. The main group are professional traditional acupuncturists who have normally completed a 3,600 hour, degree level training in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation.
The training includes the study of conventional clinical sciences as well as formal instruction in an authentic holistic tradition of a medical practice that has been established in China over the last 2,500 years. This is the style of acupuncture recognised by many governments which have legal licensing of its practice, such as those of China, Japan, Australia and the US. Traditional acupuncture is practiced by over 1 million acupuncturists worldwide. The other group consists of conventional medical practitioners such as doctors, physiotherapists and nurses who also use needling methods as an adjunct to their professional practice. This style of acupuncture, often called dry needling, has also become known as Western Medical Acupuncture.
Both styles of practice are governed by their own professional bodies. The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is the leading self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture in the UK. It was formed in 1995 from five precursor bodies, the oldest of which was established in the early 60s. It now has over 3000 members. The first and foremost aim of the council is to protect and safeguard the public interest by maintaining high standards of education, ethics, discipline and safe practice amongst its members. BAcC-registered acupuncturists are trained in relevant aspects of Western medicine including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathology. This enables the properly trained and qualified professional acupuncturist to recognise when it is in the patient's best interest to be referred on for other specialist care.
Training standards in traditional acupuncture at most of the UK University and College courses are assessed and guaranteed by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board. Details of these courses and the accreditation process can be found at http://www.baab.co.uk/study-acupuncture/accredited-courses.html
Registered practitioners in conventional medicine, mostly doctors and physiotherapists, are overseen by the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) which was founded in 1980 to encourage the use of dry needling acupuncture techniques, and by the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) established as a special interest group within the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP). Doctors and physios are eligible to join these bodies on completion of accredited programmes, but these are postgraduate courses of much shorter duration than traditional acupuncture training. The acupuncture or dry needling taught in these courses is seen very much as a limited technique within the wider scope of practice of the professionals who use it.
What actually is it about traditional acupuncture which makes it entirely different from what conventional medical professionals do? 'Traditional' means that the practitioner is trained to use an approach to diagnosis and treatment that has evolved over the past few thousand years in China, Japan and other countries of East Asia. It is an authentic medical tradition which explains how each person's symptoms and signs can be interpreted to establish a diagnosis of the underlying imbalances in their overall patterns of health and well-being. Each and every piece of information is relevant to building up this picture, and that can include changes seen in the complexion, in body shape and movement, changes in the tongue and information gained from palpation of the pulse and the body as a whole. This is a very heuristic and patient-centered approach that leads to a formal diagnosis in the technical terms of traditional Chinese medicine.
Once the practitioner has diagnosed the nature and cause of the imbalance a treatment plan will be devised which will be unique and specific to the patient. The treatment is then carried out by inserting ultra fine sterile disposable needles into selected acupuncture points on the body. Traditionally-trained acupuncturists may also use a heat treatment (moxabustion), cupping therapy or other forms of physical stimulation.
Whilst there is still a great deal of scope for more studies to be done, over 10,000 clinical trials into acupuncture have already been published and a great deal is known about the way that it works.
The British Acupuncture Council has produced a series of Fact Sheets, published on its website, (http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/category/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions.html) on the effectiveness of acupuncture in addressing a number of conditions, and these all include an extensive discussion of the evidence available. Each year 2.3 million traditional acupuncture treatments are carried out in the UK, making it one of the most popular complementary therapies. The National Institute for Health Care Excellence, NICE, in 2009, based on the evidence available, recommended the use of acupuncture as a treatment option for lower back pain and in 2012 for migraines and tension type headaches.
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.
In considering complaints we aim to apply the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's Principles of Good Administration, which are:
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.
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.
Contact the manager of the member of staff who has been dealing with your matter
Chief Executive OfficerBritish Acupuncture Council,63 Jeddo Road,London W12 9HQ
phone 020 8735 1200fax 020 8735 0404
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.
Click here to view the current Professional Conduct Committee findings and orders
What to do if you are unhappy about the service you have received from your practitioner
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.
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:
If you find it difficult to make your complaint in writing please let us know and we will help you.
Our contact details:
phone 020 8735 1205fax 020 8735 0404
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:
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 by an independent body which is accountable to Parliament.
Acupuncturists on the BAcC's register will be able to display the Accredited Register quality mark, a sign that they belong to a register which meets the Professional Standards Authority's robust standards.
Nick Pahl, CEO for the BAcC said:"The quality mark will give extra peace of mind for anyone looking for an acupuncturist, letting them know that anyone who holds the mark is committed to high standards. The BAcC is pleased to offer the quality mark to acupuncturists that meet the far reaching standards of our register, as approved by the Professional Standards Authority."
Harry Cayton, Chief Executive of the Professional Standards Authority said:"We are very pleased to accredit BAcC's register of acupuncturists. Bringing their members into a broad framework of assurance is good for patient, service users and the public and is the best way to promote quality. The scheme offers enhanced consumer protection to anyone looking for health and social care services, and gives BAcC registered acupuncturists the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment."
Accreditation does not imply that the Authority has assessed the merits of individuals on the register. This remains the responsibility of the BAcC.
Accreditation means that the BAcC's register meets the Professional Standards Authority's high standards in governance, standard-setting, education and training, management, complaints and information.
Further information on the accredited register scheme is available at http://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/accredited-registers
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:
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 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. Members of all the GB and BAcC committees and advisory groups agree to abide by the seven key principles of public office - the Nolan Principles. At every meeting of the GB its members are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The GB regularly reviews its good governance practice.
Current practitioner members on the BAcC Governing Board are Ron Bishop (acting chair), Ming Cheng, Isobel Cosgrove, and Philip Rose-Neil. Charlie Buck stepped down at the June 2015 meeting and elections are now planned for a replacement. Current lay representatives on the BAcC Governing Board are David Abrahams, Charles Cecil, Shelley Adams and Peter Ward. In addition, non-voting attendees of the BAcC Governing Board include a lay Treasurer, Rob Strange MBE, and a Company Secretary, John Wheeler.
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 reviews the BAcC's Strategy, Business Plans, and public facing activity, such as complaints procedures. Please contact us for an up-to-date list of BAcC subcommittees and advisory groups.
The date of the next Governing Board (GB) meeting is Friday, 16 October 2015. If you wish to attend the Governing Board meeting as an Observer, please review the policy below for more information and contact details.At the last GB, in February 2015, the meeting reviewed the following areas, which are of public interest:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Council63 Jeddo RoadLondon W12 9HQ
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
What the orders mean
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.
This section contains details of acupuncturists who have recently been the subject of a decision by the Professional Conduct Committee and the sanction imposed , together with the paragraph/s of the Code of Professional Conduct (CoP) and/ or sections of the Code of Safe Practice (CoSP) breached. . The committee has the power to deliver a fine, an admonishment, impose conditions of practice, suspend the acupuncturist's registration for a set period, impose a costs order or permanently remove the acupuncturist's name from the Register.
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Some people find the idea of a website storing information on their computer or mobile device a bit intrusive, particularly when this information is stored and used by a third party without them knowing. Although this is generally quite harmless, you may not, for example, want to see advertising that has been targeted to your interests. If you prefer, it is possible to block some or all cookies, or even to delete cookies that have already been set; but you need to be aware that you might lose some functions of that website.
If you wish to restrict or block web browser cookies that are set on your device, you can do this through your browser settings; the Help function within your browser should tell you how.
Alternatively, you may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers.
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