Guideline to Herb Society members to completing the on-line automated response system questions in “the Consultation”
(A joint consultation on the Report to Ministers from the DH Steering Group on the Statutory Regulation of Practitioners of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Other Traditional Medicine Systems Practised in the UK, 2009)
Put the suggestions below into your own words when filling in the online consultation form.
What evidence is there of harm to the public currently as a result of the activities of acupuncturists, herbalists and traditional Chinese medical practitioners? What is its likelihood and severity?
We hear of cases in the press where strong medication has been mixed with herbal medicine. Indicate that there is potential for harm from poorly qualified practitioners.
Would this harm be lessened by statutory regulation? If so, how?
Yes, because all herbalists would be well trained and know about herb-drug interactions so that they can advise their patients.
What do you envisage would be the benefits to the public, to practitioners, and to businesses, associated with introducing statutory regulation?
With SR, members of the public could be confident that herbal practitioners are fully qualified, and bide by a Code of Practice.
With SR herbalist would be able to work more closely with GPs.
With SR a full range of herbs would be available through herbalists which will not be allowed for sale to the general public after 2011 when EU Legislation comes in. The public will only be able to purchase about 20 herbs over the counter in 2011.
SR will mean that herbalists can work more closely with GPs and NHS staff.
SR means that herbalists will be able to access the full range of herbs and herbal products as they do now.
SR means that herbalists could get a manufacturer to make up a herbal formula for them in tablets etc.
With SR many herbal manufacturers will be able to continue in business. Many small manufacturers considered that getting a full licence (THR) to sell products over the counter will cost too much. With SR the products that they are currently setting will continue to be available to the public through herbalists, without SR they will not.
What do you envisage would be the regulatory burden and financial costs, to the public, to practitioners, and to businesses, associated with introducing statutory regulation? Are these costs justified by the benefits and are they proportionate to the risks? If so, in what way?
Don't know. But could answer that if a person pays to go to a herbalist privately instead of using the NHS then this is a cost saving for the NHS.
If herbal and TCM practitioners are subject to statutory regulation, should the right to prepare and commission unlicensed herbal medicines be restricted to statutorily regulated practitioners?
Yes – this is the most obvious way forward.
If herbal and TCM practitioners are not statutorily regulated, how (if at all) should unlicensed herbal medicines prepared or commissioned by these practitioners be regulated?
What would be the effect on the public, practitioners and businesses if, in order to comply with the requirements of European medicines legislation, practitioners were unable to supply manufactured unlicensed herbal medicines commissioned from a third party, after 2011?
Choice of herbs for the public would be much more limited to only a few key herbs like Echinacea, Ginkgo.
How might the risk of harm to the public be reduced other than by statutory professional self-regulation? For example, by voluntary self-regulation underpinned by consumer protection legislation and by greater public awareness, by accreditation of voluntary registration bodies, or by a statutory or voluntary licensing regime?
I think Statutory Regulation is the best answer.
What would you estimate would be the regulatory burden and financial costs, to the public, to practitioners, and to businesses, for the alternatives to statutory regulation suggested at Question 8?
Do not have enough knowledge to answer this question.
What would you envisage would be the benefits to the public, to practitioners, and to businesses, for the alternatives to statutory regulation outlined at Question 8?
I can't see any benefit of not regulating herbal practitioners.
If you feel that not all three practitioner groups justify statutory regulation, which group(s) does/do not and please give your reasons why/why not?
Yes – all three.
Would it be helpful to the public for these practitioners to be regulated in a way which differentiates them from the regulatory regime for mainstream professions publicly perceived as having an evidence base of clinical effectiveness? If so, why? If not, why not?
No. I understand that a lot of clinical trials have been done on herbs, so I cannot understand this question.
Given the Government's commitment to reducing the overall burden of unnecessary statutory regulation, can you suggest which areas of healthcare practice present sufficiently low risk so that they could be regulated in a different, less burdensome way or de-regulated, if a decision is made to statutorily regulate acupuncturists, herbalists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners ?
No – it seems important that herbalists are regulated.
If there were to be statutory regulation, should the Health Professions Council (HPC) regulate all three professions? If not, which one(s) should the HPC not regulate?
Yes all three.
If there were to be statutory regulation, should the Health Professions Council or the General Pharmaceutical Council/ Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland regulate herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners?
If neither, who should and why?
a) Should acupuncture be subject to a different form of regulation from that for herbalism and traditional Chinese medicine? If so, what?
b) Can acupuncture be adequately regulated through local means, for example through Health and Safety legislation, Trading Standards legislation and Local Authority licensing?
Chinese herbalists are usually trained in acupuncture, so it would seem to be sensible to regulated the two together.
a) Should the titles "acupuncturist", "herbalist" and "[traditional] Chinese medicine practitioner" be protected?
(b) If you answer in “No”, which ones do you consider should not be legally protected?
Should a new model of regulation be tested where it is the functions of acupuncture, herbal medicine and TCM that are protected, rather than the titles of acupuncturist, herbalist or Chinese medicine practitioner?
I am in favour of SR not a new model of regulation which has not been tested.
If statutory professional self-regulation is progressed, with a model of protection of title, do you agree with the proposals for "grandparenting" set out in the Pittilo report?
Can't answer this.
In the event of a decision that statutory or voluntary regulation is needed, do you agree that all practitioners should be able to achieve an English language IELTS score of 6.5 or above in order to register in the UK?
Yes, I do.
Could practitioners demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements and communicate effectively with regulators, the public and other healthcare professionals if they do not achieve the standard of English language competence normally required for UK registration? What additional costs would occur for both practitioners and regulatory authorities in this case?
Good use of English is very important for all healthcare practitioners.
What would the impact be on the public, practitioners and businesses (financial and regulatory burden) if practitioners unable to achieve an English language IELTS score of 6.5 or above are unable to register in the UK ?
Are there any other matters you wish to draw to our attention?
If you are a person who has consulted a herbalist then you might add here whether you have had a benefit and how important it is to you that his/her professionalism is recognised with Statutory Regulation.