Here’s how you can help…
In February 2011, the Secretary of State for Health announced that UK herbalists were to be statutorily regulated. He pledged that, subject to the usual procedures, the Department of Health (DH) would have this ready by 2012.
Statutory Regulation (SR) is urgently needed to protect the public from untrained herbalists and also to allow trained herbalists to continue to practice within the constraints of EU Directives. Regulation will be via the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which regulates dentists, dieticians and physiotherapists.
Two years later the DH has failed to publish the draft legislation and there is no sign of progress. The fear is that with many other priorities the DH will let the issue drop.
Failure to implement SR for herbal medicine practitioners is disastrous -
* Practitioners have lost the right to prescribe many commonly used herbal medicines.
* The public has lost access to a wide range of herbal medicines available from practitioners for more than 40 years which means that many alternative options for medical treatment are being closed off.
* Without SR the public is at risk as only SR can ensure that the public is protected from bogus practitioners and substandard herbal remedies.
* Herbal medicine offers a cost effective alternative for many common conditions which can make an important contribution to public health as the NHS budget is subject to increasing pressure.
* In short, statutory regulation is clearly in the public interest!
Please write or contact your MP as soon as possible and say that “the only arrangement that meets my needs is for the Coalition Government to honour its promise and complete the statutory regulation of herbalists.” When writing to your MP, please also add a personal reason for supporting statutory regulation (e.g. “I use herbal medicine” or “I find herbal medicine effective to treat many ailments”). In this way you will personalise your reply ensuring it has maximum impact.
If you care about herbal medicine, please do not miss the opportunity to support this ancient and priceless healing system.
Today herbal medicine remains very popular. A survey commissioned by the government medicines regulator showed more than a quarter of the population had bought herbal medicines over-the-counter in the previous two years and that one in twelve had consulted a practitioner of Western herbal medicine and one in twenty had consulted a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine.
The decision to introduce SR for the herbal profession was taken after two public consultations that demonstrated massive public support for this measure. In addition, SR was endorsed by two DH Committees under independent chairmanship.
In 2011, the Secretary of State declared that the decision to implement the statutory regulation of herbal practitioners marked ‘a significant milestone’.
Please don’t delay – write in support of statutory regulation and make the Government honour its promise…
About Herbal medicine
Did you know that herbal medicine is one of the most ancient forms of medicine, used the world over? Today scientific research is backing the traditional use of remedies that have been used for thousands of years. For example, research now indicates that St John’s wort is effective for mild and moderate depression, ginger is good for nausea and valerian and hops can help you sleep. Although, of course, natural doesn’t guarantee safe, most herbal remedies have a gentle action on the body/mind and in the hands of a skilled herbal practitioner herbs can do much to restore a weakened or overburdened system.
In 2008 the World Health Organisation (WHO) agreed that WHO and its Member States should cooperate to promote the use of traditional medicine for healthcare. The collaboration aims to:
• Support and integrate traditional medicine into national health systems in combination with national policy and regulation for products, practices and providers to ensure safety and quality;
• Ensure the use of safe, effective and quality products and practices, based on available evidence;
• Acknowledge traditional medicine as part of primary health care, to increase access to care and preserve knowledge and resources; and ensure patient safety by upgrading the skills and knowledge of traditional medicine providers.
• Gaining statutory regulation will ensure these aims are met in the UK!
This message is from The European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA) in conjunction with the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) www.nimh.org.uk