Regulation of practitioners using unlicensed herbal medicines goes to HPC

1st March 2011

Regulation of practitioners using unlicensed herbal medicines will lie with the Health Professions Council as a statutory regulator.

Since the House of Lords Select Committee report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2000 suggesting a statutory regulation for herbal medicine and acupuncture, the Government has worked to introduce such regulation for over 10 years.

The move has been welcomed by CAM organisations including the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) and The Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (UK), ATCM.

Maggy Wallace, CNHC Executive Chair, said: "We know that the professions concerned have long sought statutory regulation and we are pleased for them.

"We were pleased to be asked to bid for this important work and we welcome the Health Minister's positive statements regarding the work of CNHC in relation to voluntary regulation."

Dr. Huijun Shen, ATCM President stated: "We believe statutory regulation is the best way to safeguard the public. The title of TCM practitioners, as well as herbal medicine practitioners and acupuncturists, must be statutorily protected to stop bogus people from using these titles - a real danger to the public.

"We would also like to draw Government's attention to the fact that thousands of Chinese practitioners have safely and legally practiced in the UK for many year. Many of them may not speak fluent English. While we agree that there should be a language requirement for the registration of new practitioners under the statutory regulatory scheme, a special exemption or transitional arrangement under the 'Grandparenting' scheme should be in place to allow those practitioners, who have practiced in the UK for many years but do not speak perfect English, to continue to practice under the statutory regulation.

"It would be unfair and injurious if these regulations force them to cease their practice and lose their only livelihood," concluded Dr. Shen.

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