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Consultation launched into alternative therapies

4 August 2009

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A UK-wide consultation is under way to decide if practitioners of acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine should be regulated.

The consultation, launched by the Department of Health, will seek views on whether a regulatory system is required to govern the practice of the complementary and alternative therapies.

There is currently no statutory regulation of practitioners who provide acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

A final decision will be made after the consultation considers the likely risk of harm that could be caused to patients and the public receiving the treatments.

Ann Keen, Health Minister, said: “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.”

Dr Michael Dixon, GP and medical director for the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, said: “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.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Department of Health