Estimates vary, but there are about 40,000 alternative healthcare practitioners in Britain. Most are subject to little or no regulation. This clearly amounts to a public health issue: the main purpose of regulation must be to maximise consumer safety and, if we cannot be sure that these therapists are properly educated, experienced and obliged to abide by generally accepted standards of good clinical practice, many patients' health is at risk.
Adequate regulation has been in the
pipeline for many years. In the 1990s, chiropractors and osteopaths were
regulated by statute – that is to say, they are now regulated in a
similar way to doctor or nurses. Statutory regulation of herbalists is
currently being finalised and acupuncturists may follow soon. Is this a
good or bad thing?
On the one hand, it ought to be an excellent
idea which might ensure that alternative practitioners do not harm their
patients. On the other hand, it could be a fairly nonsensical action
which merely provides credibility to professions that do not deserve it.
To decide which of the two scenarios is more likely, we might ask how
well such regulation worked in the past, for instance, in the case of
Did it prevent chiropractors from making false therapeutic claims? No, it did not. On the contrary, when Simon Singh challenged the British Chiropractic Association
for "happily promoting bogus treatments", rather than getting their act
together, they sued him for libel. Even today, chiropractors have by no means stopped using and advertising questionable procedures.
Source - Guardian