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About the BAcC - Governing Board Meeting Summaries

About the BAcC - Governing Board Meeting Summaries (2)

The British Acupuncture Council has a Governing Board that has a remit including governance of the BAcC, strategic direction and direct accountability for professional standards and professional conduct.

Discussion of Professional Conduct is an integral part of every board meeting. For further information please see the minutes of board meetings attached.

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Governing Board meeting minutes February 2017

Governing Board meeting minutes October 2016

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 https://baab.co.uk/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.

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.


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.


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

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.

The Moderator

The Moderator is appointed by the Governing Board to examine all cases in which the Investigating Committee has decided that there is no case to answer.

The Moderator is a non-acupuncturist (lay person) and is not an employee of the BAcC, nor a member of the Governing Board or member of any BAcC committees.

The Moderator prepares an annual report for the Governing Board which includes whatever recommendations and conclusions he/she feels necessary to improve the functions of the Investigating Committee.  A summary of the latest Moderator’s report can be downloaded at the foot of the page

Click here to view the current Professional Conduct Committee findings and orders

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, former 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 patients, 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:

  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 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.

  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 Company Secretary is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Data Protection Act and implementation of this policy on behalf of the BAcC. He 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.

Updated April 2017

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 Date Order Made
 Mojdeh Danesh  ****40 until 13 November 2017 26 September 2017

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 , together with the paragraph/s of the Code of Professional Conduct (CP) and/ or sections of the Code of Safe Practice (CSP) breached. . The committee has the power to deliver a fine (F), an admonishment (A), impose conditions of practice (CP), suspend the acupuncturist's registration for a set period (S), impose a costs order (C) or permanently remove the acupuncturist's name from the Register (T).

Acupuncturists Name Registration Number Date  Order/s Paragraphs/Sections of Codes breached
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