Report to Ministers from The Department of Health Steering Group on the Statutory Regulation of Practitioners of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Other Traditional Medicine Systems Practised in the UK.
Department of Health Steering Group on the Statutory Regulation of Practitioners of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Other Traditional Medicine Systems Practised in the UK
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Key Recommendations of Steering Group Report • The Steering Group (SG) is of the view that there is an urgent need to proceed without delay with the statutory regulation of practitioners of acupuncture, herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and other traditional medicine systems. The primary reasons for this recommendation are to safeguard the public by allowing removal of failing practitioners from the statutory register and to enable informed choice by those who wish to access these forms of treatment • The SG also notes that statutory regulation of this sector will continue to permit the manufacture of herbal medicines by a third party for the use of individual patients. After the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive is fully implemented in 2011, this important facility will disappear unless these practitioners are statutorily regulated and thus able to have such products made up under Article 5 of Directive 2001/83/EC (the main EU Medicines Directive). • The SG also recommends that statutory regulated practitioners from this sector should be able to demonstrate a reasonable standard of English language ability by being able to achieve an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 6.5. The SG believes this to be important to safeguard patients and to ensure that practitioners from this sector can communicate effectively with both patients and other health professionals. • The SG recommends that Section 12(1) of the 1968 Medicines Act, that permits the supply of herbal medicines to individual patients without the need for a marketing authorisation, should be limited to those on the statutory register. The report recommends that the grand-parenting process, by which existing practitioners are adopted onto the statutory register, should be as inclusive as possible. • The SG is strongly in support of the Government suggestion made in the recent White Paper (2007), Trust, assurance and safety – the regulation of health professionals in the 21st century, that this sector should be regulated by the Health Professions Council (HPC). The SG has had ongoing and most constructive discussions with representatives of the HPC regarding the provision of statutory regulation of this sector by the HPC. • The SG made specific recommendations about titles that could be protected by statutory regulation (Section 19 on page 15 of the report). • The Report agrees standards of education and training submitted as Annexes (2-4) as well as agreeing standards of conduct, performance and ethics that are consistent with those operated by the HPC. • The SG strongly recommends further research to underpin the practice of acupuncture, herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and other traditional medicine systems practised in the UK. Research and resource issues are examined in some depth in Annex 1. • The Report also names those professional bodies that have provided satisfactory criteria that would seem to permit their members to be transferred en bloc directly over to HPC regulation without risk to the public (Annex 7).The report also provides a list of existing taught provision within the UK (Annex 5). Annex 6 makes specific recommendations about the approval of accreditation boards.
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