The National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) welcomes plans to regulate practitioners of herbal medicine and acupuncture as advocated by a House of Lords' Select Committee and by three subsequent DH working groups.
Having looked closely at all other options, the NIMH is strongly in support of statutory regulation of this sector. All other options considered, only statutory regulation of this sector can enable the public to identify qualified practitioners and maintain the availability of a full range of herbal medicines in herbal practice.
The Report on Extending Professional and Occupational Regulation said: “Government has also agreed to extend regulation to practitioners of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine practised in the UK.”
The Health Professions Council has recommended these groups of healthcare professionals for statutory regulation.
“The public are at risk of having a much reduced access to herbal remedies from herbal practitioners unless the Government is able to get statutory regulation in place before the EU Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products comes into force in 2011", says Jane Gray, President of the NIMH.
The Pittilo report published in June 2008 recommended 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.
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 Medicinal Herbal 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 government suggested in the 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 Professionals Council.