Article by Martin Watt (Cert Phyt).
as Medical Herbalist in 1986 but refused for numerous reasons
to join my "appropriate organisation" the National
Institute of Medical Herbalists (N.I.M.H).
to join an organisation that was a private limited company.
I wondered then, and still do, if a private limited company
can legally expel a shareholder for wrong doing. That question
is fundamental to Statutory regulation as such organisations
will be tasked with policing the system.
to join because leading NIMH members failed to take significant
action after serious complaints from students over matters
concerning the training school.
to join because I could see most of my fellow classmates,
once they were admitted as members, were not prepared to
take an active part in sanitizing the way the organisation
to join because there were issues with the way the educational
trust was being administered.
to join because of the lack of willingness to establish
what aspects of herbal medicine were useful and what not.
That included then, and may still do for all I know, a total
lack of assessment of the efficacy of treatments being used
at the training clinics.
Due to the
above issues, therapists
only being allowed to practice if "registered" by professional
bodies in complementary medicine annoys me greatly. Membership
of these bodies is fine if they are competent and well run - not
the case with some existing ones. Most people join these organisations
for cheaper insurance, ability to fill their business cards with
initials, and for fear of not being a member. The regulators
always ignore the history of these associations and that frequently
they are run by an inner core, with their members rubber stamping
what they advise if it be right or wrong.
profession and its organisations are a prime example of what these
organisations are really about, i.e. protecting their members
not the public. Did the BMA protect us from Shipman;
badly trained on-call doctors being shipped in from overseas,
and the many others cases of medical negligence over the years?
codes provide protection" - utter rubbish! In
every trade I can think of this is a fallacy designed to fool
the public and pander to politicians and the media. There are
tons of existing laws that can be used to deal with rogue traders
or therapists, but rarely are they enforced. If someone chooses
to be unethical, no codes of practice will make a bit of difference,
even less so if no one enforces them.
to limit calling oneself a 'Medical Herbalist' to only "registered"
practitioners, means that those who have trained, but choose not
to join professional bodies of questionable competence, will be
restricted in how they promote themselves. The Osteopaths were
statutory registered a few years ago, but how many who still practice
under that name have been prosecuted? Very few if any I think.
So if no one is going to enforce the registered names what is
the point in spending all that money? Well it does give the
leaders in the respective trades power, status and money.
major problem is existing laws are rarely enforced
by various agencies. In particular, I have reported dozens of
cases of illegal Internet sites in the UK to the Medicines Control
Agency. I do not think a single one has been taken to court, instead
they are just given warnings. Often these businesses knowingly
break the law and wait until someone in the MHRA sends them
a letter. I have cases where over a year has elapsed between my
complaint and a letter being sent to the rogue trader. All that
time the MHRA has allowed illegal medicinal claims and advice
that poses a serious threat to the publics health to continue.
It is that agency who are tasked with controlling herbal medicines.
That agency and its advisory committees have numerous staff
and advisors who worked, or have links, to pharmaceutical companies
and whose mind-set is geared to ONLY their way of doing things.
Therefore, anything monitored under the umbrella of that agency
I have absolutely no confidence in.
regulatory scheme will have no powers over those who will not
join the so called "professional" organisations. Non
registered Practitioners will simply change the name they call
themselves and continue regardless. In that case one has to question
why it is that the herbal organisations feel they must spend huge
amounts of their members money on such useless schemes?
therapists should stop pandering to the threats produced by the
medical and drugs lobbies dominating the Government departments.
Instead we should attack their long history of regulatory incompetence
which is far worse than any harm caused by any Complementary practitioners.
That some quality controls on herbal preparations are necessary.
2. Statutory regulation of practitioners will not be effective
in the way the pro lobby imply.
3. There may be a case to be answered at the European court over
the legality of the EU commission
and UK Governments proposals to interfere with our traditional