STATUTORY REGULATION OF HERBAL MEDICINE IN UK
Here in Cyprus we welcome the recent announcement by the British Secretary of State for Health of forthcoming statutory regulation of herbal medicine practitioners under the Health Professions Council (HPC).
This has been under consideration ever since a House of Lords Select Committee reported on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2000, and 85% of respondents to the most recent public consultation in 2009 were in favour of statutory regulation.
The government has now resolved years of uncertainty for practitioners and safeguarded their future as well as the best interests of consumers.
The Health Professions Council has been asked to establish a statutory register for practitioners. Following creation of this register, only those practitioners who qualify for designation as “authorised healthcare professionals” will be able to commission unlicensed manufactured herbal medicines to meet the special needs of their patients. Regulation of practitioners will be underpinned by a strengthened system for regulating the medicinal products they use.
Peter Bradley, Chairman of the BHMA commented: “A major step in the right direction. The government has made a sound decision and is to be congratulated. We look forward to a new scheme which will raise standards in herbal practice and give consumers continued access through practitioners to a wide range of important herbal medicines.
CYPRUS STILL IN THE MIDDLE AGES!
Even though this is welcome news in the UK, here in Cyprus were I work and live as a Holistic Health practitioner and master herbalist, not only is legislation a long way from being realised by the Ministry of Health, but there is an active witch-hunt of natural medicine practitioners by the Cyprus Medical Association, headed by Dr. Vasos Economou, the President of the Ethical Committee who is using very immoral and unethical tactics to smear the name of natural medicine professionals working consciously here in Cyprus – see article HERE.
The motive appears clear from the various attempts that have been made against alternative and complimentary medicine being practiced here in Cyprus. I personally have been wrongly accused and acquited on five separate occassions, once being arrested and taken to the Larnaca Police Station for questioning.
On all occassions the General Attorney has thrown the case out saying that there is no case.
Now the Cyprus Medical Association, with the passionate zeal of the President of the Ethical Committee, Dr Vasos Economou, has resorted to less ethical tactics which involve sending “stooge” journalists to therapists offices to video tape them and show them on national TV labelled as “Charlatans.” This is causing much confusion amongst people in Cyprus who have seen much benefit from complimentary and alternative medicine practitioners were allopathic medicine has not been able to help them.
It is highly immoral to use ones political contacts and power to target highly qualified professionals practicing natural medicine with a genuine concern for their patient’s wealthfare. These practitioners also include medical doctors who are presently being taken to disciplinary hearings not for any act of negligence but simply because they are helping their patients using methods of natural medicine, not drugs and surgery. The witch-hunt appears to be against natural medicine per se without concern regarding who is practicing this form of healing, whether it be medical or non-medical practitioners.
World Health Organization and Traditional Medicine
The World Health Organization for at least the last 20 years has been researching, promoting and publishing on Traditional Medicine around the globe.
They have many Collaborating Centres for Traditional Medicine around the world, including the Middle East, but none in Cyprus.
There are many other Research documents that have been written by the World Health Organization over the last 20 years or so.
In one of the documents written by WHO entitled: Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/ Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review there are many countries around the world that have established a commission to advise the Government on the practices of complementary/alternative medicine, particularly registration of practitioners, membership in recognized professional organizations, insurance for professionals, regulation of advertising and more. This legislation both protects the practitioner as well as the patient. Cyprus is not even included in this document.
Even as far back as 1977 the WHO had written a document entitled: The Promotion and Development of Traditional Medicine - the report says: “It was observed that many professional health personnel had often tended to regard Traditional Medicine as a practice on the decline and of no importance, and this was a serious fallacy in so far as culture itself, of which Traditoinal Medicine was an integral part, was neither static nor dead.”
It is a shame that the Cyprus Medical Association also has this attitude as Traditional or natural medicine is part of the cultural heritage of Cyprus. Indeed, in 1291, after the fall of Acre, a handful of Hospitallers, included their severely wounded Master Fr. Jean de Villiers, escaped to Cyprus.
They established their headquarters at Limassol and built a new hospital for pilgrims there were the monks practiced Monastic Medicine, which was traditional or natural medicine, and therefore a part of Cyprus’s cultural heritage. In fact, this is where modern naturopathic medicine came from, the Knights Hospitallers who initially grew out of a brotherhood for the care of sick pilgrims in a hospital at Jerusalem following the First Crusade in 1100 AD.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the US Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). They are 1 of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The mission of NCCAM is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has recently undertaken a huge study entitled: Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Third Strategic Plan: 2011–2015.
Dr. George J Georgiou, Ph.D.,N.D.,DSc (AM).,N.D.(P).,MSc.,BSc
Holistic Medicine Practitioner
Da Vinci Holistic Health Centre
Panayia Aimatousa 300, Aradippou 7101,Larnaca,Cyprus
Tel: (+357) 24-82 33 22
Fax: (+357) 24-82 33 21
Author: Curing the “Incurable” with Holistic Medicine
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, curing or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regime, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of naturaltherapycenter.com or its staff.
© 2012, Dr George J Georgiou, Larnaca, Cyprus.