The governments decision to regulate all of the 550 separate independent professional Traditional Chinese Medicine ( Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine ) organizations in the UK began with a House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology Report into Complementary and Alternative Medicine in November 2000. Then soon after this the Acupuncture Regulatory Working Group and the Herbal Regulatory Working Group where formed to produce more information and recommendations and both produced reports in 2003

A consultation document was published by The Department of Health called, Regulation of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture: Proposals For Statutory Regulation in march 2004. This consultation document was then closed in June 2004. Both the The College of Chinese Medicine and The Acupuncture Society contributed towards this consultation document.

Although no final decisions have been made it would appear that the most likely outcome of the governments possible decision to regulate Acupuncture and Chinese herbal Medicine will be a shared Complementary and Alternative Medicine Council (CAM Council) for both Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture, this may be extended in future to include Japanese, Indian and Tibetan Medicine and Homeopathy.

This CAM Council will be a new organization which will ask all currently existing 550 separate TCM and the many Japanese, Indian and Tibetan Medicine organizations to be regulated by it.

Some people mistakenly think that there is already a single governing body for TCM or that the already existing 550 separate TCM organizations have already combined.

This is not the case, there is no single organization that represents all the acupuncturists in the UK, there are many different organizations all practising different versions of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine and all with different lengths to their training courses. At present all these different organizations have equal standing under the law. When the CAM Council is formed all the different organizations will register with it.

Students who have graduated at the College of Chinese Medicine are entitled to be admitted as members of The Acupuncture Society and are obliged to maintain its high professional standards and adhere to its code of ethics, rules and regulations. Both these organizations already comply with the expected requirements of the CAM Council when it is eventually formed and will continue to help the development of the profession by continuing to be part of the governments consultation for regulation processes.

Additionally The Department of Education has also recently sort the advice of The Acupuncture Society relating to how the public can best be informed about the benefits of the acupuncture profession. Also both the College of Chinese Medicine and The Acupuncture Society were asked to contribute towards the draft National Professional Standards for Acupuncture.

The Department of Health consultation on the statutory regulation of herbal medicine and acupuncture practitioners closed in June 2004. The responses have been considered and analysed and the results can be viewed by visiting this web site The Department of Health plans to publish draft legislation for further consultation in autumn 2005.

Timetable for the steps of the regulatory process

Close of formal consultation period 7 June 2004
Analysis of consultation responses Summer 2004
Submission to Ministers on policy proposals Winter 2004
Publication of analysis of consultation responses Spring 2005
Preparation of draft Order under section 60 of the Health Act 1999 Spring 2005
Clearance of draft 60 Order by Parliamentary Counsel Spring 2005
Publication of draft section 60 Order for consultation has not yet happened.

Any new developments will be added here so that past, current and future students of the College of Chinese Medicine and members of The Acupuncture Society can be kept up to date on developments.

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