Last time, we asked for your help in making sure the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) didn't allow alternative therapy organisations on to its new Accredited Registers scheme. We believe this could pave the way for alternative therapists to claim they are 'officially accredited' or 'Goverment accredited', particularly if they display the schemes 'quality mark'.
We believe this would simply mislead the public into thinking these therapies are legitimate and have a Government seal of approval.
Many of you wrote to the CHRE and sent us a copy of your submissions. Our thanks to everyone who did and we hope the CHRE will take note.
We also submitted our response. We wrote it with several aims in mind. Firstly, since the CHRE oversee a number of statutory regulators of health care professionals (as well as chiropractors and osteopaths), we wanted to make sure that they knew what they would be getting into and what the implications might be for their credibility and that of legitimate health care professionals.
We highlighted the reason many occupations are considered alternative is that they do not have robust evidence to substantiate what they do and the claims frequently made about them by their practitioners and trade bodies. Another common feature is that they frequently have no plausible mechanism of action — as exemplified by homeopathy and crystal healing.
Additionally, we illustrated that, even though many alternative therapies are, in themselves, fairly harmless, there are indirect harms and risks that need to be considered. These include a frequent disdain or even outright antipathy for the many health professionals — particularly medical doctors — whose statutory regulator falls within the CHRE's remit and we drew attention to the distrust of vaccines by many alternative therapists.
We also highlighted many of the clauses in the standards proposed and how they needed to be strengthened so the public are better protected.
You can read our full submission here, but we concluded:
1. We strongly recommend that the CHRE do not allow onto their Accredited Register any organisation whose registrants provide alternative therapies that do not meet the basic requirements of having a robust evidence base or that does not have an assessment of safety that ensures that the public will be properly protected.
We believe that to do so would be detrimental to:
- the CHRE’s reputation;
- public confidence in the CHRE and its regulated professions;
- public health and safety;
- the reputation of other Accredited organisations.
2. We strongly recommend that the standards ensure that the public are given independent and unbiased information about the evidence base for treatments.
3. We strongly recommend that the standards ensure that the public are given independent and unbiased information about the risks associated with treatments.
This scheme is supposed to be up and running in November and we'll let you know when the CHRE publish their final eligibility criteria and standards.
As a result of further information we received from our supporters about point-of-sale advertising for homeopathic products in Holland & Barrett stores, we decided that writing to their head office wasn't sufficient to get this issue resolved once and for all.
It appears that some store managers have been told by their head office that there was nothing wrong with the advertising, despite the MHRA's previous ruling on our complaint.
So, we have submitted another comprehensive complaint to the MHRA, including many of the photographs of the POS advertising you sent to us.
It will no doubt take the MHRA some time to deal with this, but we are confident of the outcome. We'll let you know in a future newsletter.
Holland & Barrett, Kensington High Street, London
23 July 2012
- "Undisputable evidence of scientific misconduct" by homeopaths
- Yet another bad year for homeopathy
- Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacy #3
- Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacy #2
- The Society of Homeopaths: failing to make the case for homeopathy
- The end of homeopathy on the NHS in Bristol?
- NHS Homeopathy: 20 years of decline
- The different faces of the Society of Homeopaths
- The growing pains of osteopaths
- Diluting misleading claims - ASA update
- About The Nightingale Collaboration
- Finding deleted and changed webpages
- How to find out who owns a website
- Advertising Standards Authority
- Rubbing salts into the wounds of homeopathy
- How to submit a complaint to the ASA
- The decline of homeopathy on the NHS
- Landmark decisions for homeopaths
- NHS Lanarkshire to end referrals to Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital
- Making a complaint