The Department of Health have launched the consultation process on the regulation of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. See attached release with quote from British Acupuncture Council CEO Mike O'Farrell
from the Department of Health website SHOULD PRACTITIONERS OF ACUPUNCTURE, HERBAL MEDICINE AND TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE BE REGULATED? A consultation on whether, and if so, how, practitioners of acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine should be regulated was launched today by the Department of Health. At present, there is no statutory regulation of practitioners who offer acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine in the UK. The consultation will seek views on whether a regulatory system should be established to govern the practice of these complementary and alternative therapies. The three Health Ministers for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have agreed that this consultation should be UK-wide. Once the consultation responses have been considered, a decision will be made on whether or not to move towards statutory regulation of these professions. Any final decision will be based on an assessment of the likely risk of harm to patients and the public, and consideration as to whether this harm could be reduced or avoided by other means. These factors are all taken into account in the consultation as well as looking at alternatives to statutory regulation. Ann Keen, Health Minister, said: "Patient safety is paramount, whether people are accessing orthodox health service treatments or using alternative treatments, privately or through the NHS. "This UK-wide consultation will help us find the best and most appropriate ways of ensuring that those who choose to receive acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine can be reassured that those practitioners meet professional standards of care and safety. "We very much want to hear people's views on the range of options set out in the consultation, so that we can give these complex issues proper consideration." The consultation follows publication of a report from the Extending Professional Regulation (EPR) Working Group, published 16 July 2009, which considers the approach to the regulation of currently unregulated roles and alternatives to statutory regulation in the future. Dr Michael Dixon, GP and medical director for the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, said: "As long standing campaigners for the regulation of complementary therapies, we are delighted that the public will be given the chance to have their voice heard. In line with previous consultations and surveys, we are confident there will be overwhelming support for the recommendations of the Working Group. "There is good evidence for herbal medicine, acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the treatment of some conditions but, as in all healthcare, these therapies require properly trained practitioners." Mike O'Farrell, Chief Executive of the British Acupuncture Council and Chair of the Chinese Medicine Working Group, said: "The British Acupuncture Council is delighted that the recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine are now being included in the expanded consultation process. "We believe that it is an important step in ensuring that the public understand the professional standards needed to work in these therapies and that they will be able to identify the professionals concerned. The British Acupuncture Council has long supported the proposals for statutory regulation of acupuncture and looks forward to the implementation of the original recommendation." Notes to Editors: 1. At present, there is no statutory regulatory system in the UK to govern the practice of complementary and alternative medicine, with the exception of chiropractic and osteopathy, which are regulated by statute. The consultation on the statutory regulation of acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/index.htmPeople will be able to submit electronic responses to the consultation online from Tuesday 4 August. 2. Regulation means that the practitioner has met certain entry standards (i.e. has an accredited qualification) and that they subscribe to a set of professional standards. The public will have the reassurance that the practitioner they choose meets these standards and that they would be subject to fitness to practise procedures should they behave inappropriately. 3. All three professions will, if regulated, be regulated by the same regulator. There are no plans to establish a new Council to regulate these professions. 4. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are committed to UK-wide regulation sensitive to their own countries' needs. The consultation is UK-wide. 5. 'Extending Professional Regulation', published 16 July 2009, considers the approach to the regulation of unregulated roles in the future. The report contains recommendations for professions who wish to be statutorily regulated and will also consider possible alternatives to statutory regulation which are taken into account in the consultation launched today. This followed the Departmental commitment in the White Paper "Trust, Assurance and Safety - the regulation of health professionals in the 21st Century", published in February 2007. The report can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_102824View on the original webpage: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/Content/Detail.aspx?ReleaseID=405517&NewsAreaID=2&HUserID=889,780,893,854,779,684,710,705,765,674,677,767,684,762,718,674,708,683,706,718,674&ClientID=-1
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