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OCPHM Bulletin: November, 2017

Urgent need for progress on Statutory Regulation

A letter from Michael McIntyre
chair of the European Herbal & Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association

All of us who practise Chinese herbal medicine should be very concerned that the Government has failed to honour its promise to recognise Chinese herbal practitioners by implementing statutory regulation (SR). The Government is now suggesting that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) professional associations and their members join the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), which is effectively an administrative dead-end ensuring that herbal practitioners are set apart from other recognised health professionals. If this were to go ahead, the Government will appear to have provided the means for a safe provision of herbal medicine, when the PSA provides no such security for the millions of people using herbal medicine.

In addition, the Government has made it clear that it will not provide a legal process to allow herbal suppliers to sell or supply herbal prescriptions, prepared herbal pills or capsules for individual patients even though this was recommended by the recent Walker Report. This means that all patient prescriptions have to be produced on, and supplied from the premises of the practitioner. This is very difficult for many practitioners because of lack of space in the premises from which they practise. Any arrangement to address this state of affairs will require herbalists to be statutory regulated.

As things stand now, anyone can practise herbal medicine with little or no training. For many years, the Government supported the introduction of statutory regulation enabling identification of those qualified to practise herbal medicine. Without this measure, the MHRA (medicines agency) is likely to remove a range of medicinal herbs it considers cannot be prescribed, by anyone who is not statutorily regulated. This would be a huge loss to the profession.

The notion that voluntary registration by the PSA can take the place of SR is absurd. The PSA suffers the same shortcomings that undermine other existing voluntary accreditors. The PSA has no more ability than existing voluntary registers operating in the herbal sector to require that all herbal training institutions adhere to an agreed standard of training. Moreover, the PSA may also offer the public false security as it appears to have all the powers of a statutory regulating council, but in reality, it has none due to the fact it is a voluntary registration body. The PSA does have a separate role to oversee - UK statutory regulators of health professionals. Because of this, the public will undoubtedly confuse the separate statutory and voluntary functions and mistakenly perceive that, as a voluntary accreditor, the PSA can provide the public with effective regulation of herbal practice. In reality this is only possible via statutory regulation. For this reason, an increasing number of practitioner associations are expressing the view that PSA membership is a charade.

This letter asks you to contact your MP and state clearly that only full statutory regulation will enable herbal medicine practice to continue safely. We attach a letter which explains the issues to your patients that will enable you and your patients to write to your MP to call for SR. Please feel free to download and print the letter to give to your patients.

Many thanks,

Michael McIntyre
Chair of EHTPA

Download letter to help you and your patients write to your MP and to the relevant Health Minister


www.ocphm.org.uk
info@ocphm.org.uk

NEWS

Nov 2017: Urgent need for progress on Statutory Regulation


March 2016: Continuing Prevarication over SR for Herbalists

April 2015: New Government Report on Herbal Medicine a Travesty

31st March 2015: Anglo-Saxon remedy kills superbug MRSA
(external link)

1st Feb 2014: The Government backslides again...

19th Jan 2014: Prince Charles makes plea on alternative medicine
(external link)

OCPHM Conference - articles to appear in Caduceus

9th November 2013: OCPHM Conference 'The Vital Contribution of Herbal Medicine' took place

9th July 2013: Minister makes statement on the Future of Herbal Medicine

10th July 2013: Michael McIntyre addresses OCPHM

24th April 2013: Demonstration and Parliamentary Lobby at Westminster