The Chairperson of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council has announced an alternative therapy ‘crackdown’, according to the BBC news. How interesting:

It will not judge clinics on whether therapies are effective, but rather on whether they operate a professional and safe business.

According to the news article, there are over 150,000 practitioners of CAM in the UK. How many of these practitioners will apply to the register is unknown, but it is voluntary!

Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter’s Peninsula Medical School, said: "There does need to be more rigour in the regulation of complementary medicine as there will certainly be cowboys out there. "However, I have concerns that the regulator does not have mandatory powers and is not looking at the efficacy of these therapies."

Health minister Ben Bradshaw has clearly been hoodwinked, as he welcomed the establishment of the CNHC.

 "Members of the public who use these therapies will be able to check whether the practitioner they’re seeing is registered with the CNHC," he said. "If they are, they have the reassurance of knowing that they have had to meet minimum standards of qualification and that they have signed up to a rigorous code of conduct."

So, let’s see. The CNHC register is an entirely voluntary affair. It will not judge on the effectiveness of the quack remedies. It will merely evaluate the safety of the practitioners. Can a quack remedy that may induce a patient to forgo effective conventional medicine be truly classed as safe?  It is sad that the "rigorous" code of conduct does not include evidence that the quack therapy actually works. 

The CNHC has been set up "to enhance public protection, by setting standards for registration with CNHC."  Ofquack, as we might think of it,

…has been developed with the help of complementary healthcare practitioners and with support from the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health. The Department of Health has consistently supported the CNHC throughout its start-up period and is committed to establishing the CNHC as the national voluntary regulator in the complementary healthcare field.

 

I await comments from the bolgosphere with bated breath…

First up, The Quackometer with "Ofquack’s Toothless Squawk", in which the amusing URL http://www.ofquack.org.uk  makes an appearance…it’s a very lucid exposition of just what’s wrong with Ofquack, and builds on a track record of related articles.