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Posted by Mike Colquhoun, Jan 22 2009 2:53PM

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Edith Maskell

Having read with great interest what you had to say previously, could you Edith now give us the benefit of your thoughts on these developments?
Yours aye Mike
Richard Johnson
Feb 8 2009 6:20PM
Although no response as yet, it was interesting to see the GRCCT response to the launch of CNHC was very very swiftly removed from their website.

I think the time has come to stand up and be counted, and state that CNHC is the chosen regulatory body, which is recognised, and will be the one to join.
Edith Maskell
Mar 16 2009 11:03AM

Apologies for not responding. I don't often log on and happened to see this by accident.

My views have not changed. I'm tired of talking about it to be honest. What is being publicised is a nonsense. As far as I'm concerned the CNCH is a shambles and never in a million years should we accept it in its present format or with the people involved.

This debate isn't (or shouldn't be) about competition between one regulator or another it should be about the appropriateness of a regulator for CAM and the people involved in the decision making process and the way it is administered. As far as I am concerned, there is too much cosiness in who has been "tapped on the shoulder" (allegedly) in the positions are already taken and the positions they are looking to fill.

When you look at the size of this industry - why is it that at the moment only ONE profession is supporting it? By the looks of it, Nutritional Therapy are having second thoughts and on the grapevine, I heard so too are the massage therhapists? Surely, they can't all be wrong? Might I suggest that the professions and practitioners aren't supporting CNCH because "it" as it stands, is not fit for purpose?

It's far too complicated to go into here but at a meeting I attended at the end of last year, where Maggie Dunn was invited to answer concerns, she said "they" had been speaking privately to professional associations. This means that "they" are overtly goin over the heads of the lead bodies in each profession which, in my view, makes a mockery of processes that were set up to maintain independence. Words like "incestuous" were constantly thrown at us on the basis that if individual professional associations were involved in the decision making processes, then the Regulator could not be independent. Yet here we have a Regulator who appears to be wheeling and dealing with hand picked PA's in order to peruade them to promote the CNCH to their members.

The worrying thing is that those PA's (or many of them) have a vested interest. They are all corporate businesses, led by ambitious CEO's (non professionals) who have other businesses under their organisational umbrella which may well benefit from playing ball with the CNCH.

It is also possible of course that if certain individuals are being "tapped on the shoulder", allegedly to sit on the PSB's, there is potential for them to be entirely made up of members from the same professional association. So forgive me if I fail to see the independent and robust regulator that we are being led to believe has been created.

We're told time and again that CNCH has changed and the changes now incorporate many of the suggestions made by the professions to make us happy but if you read between the lines, there are no changes. It's all waffle and piffle but who cares, CNCH will only work (on a voluntary basis) if practitioners sign up to it and despite what Maggie Dunn said on TV that there will be no big rush for practitioners to register, it will start "with a trickle", practitioners are not as daft as "they" think we are.

Finally and more importantly, the Government, DoH, nor the medical profession is never going to support CNCH or us without the research and evidence that what we do is credible and effective.

All they have done so far is fund a process to enable us to organise ourselves to be regulated. Nowhere has it been written down or ever said that the medical profession, the Government or DoH will promote CAM health treatment or its practitioners once we're registered. PLEASE practitioners, please .... if you understand nothing else. This is an important and key issue. I have asked this question time and time again to different individuals involved (in the powers that be) and the answer is ALWAYS the same. "NO". If we register, it does NOT mean we will get referrals from the NHS. Some insurance companies already acknowledge us and will pay for our treatments, if we are members of certain professional associations. Market forces will force the rest in time. Registration has nothing to do with it. "They" within the CNCH use it as a carrot to dangle over us but even Maggie Dunn agreed. Her answer to the question was "I would hope it will help to get doctor referrals". "I would HOPE ...." !!

Research costs money and for CAM it needs to be carried out using appropriate methods. Who is going to invest in CAM Research? Pharmaceuticals sponsor ALL reseasrch - it's in their interest. CAM is not in their best interest.

PLEASE practitioners, do not buy into this "fairy tale" that Maggie Dunn et all is putting about that we will get more work from referrals if we register with CNCH. Without the evidence I talked about above, it ain't gonna happen. Doctors have overall responsibility for their patients. They aren't going to hand that over to us.

What WILL happen is that the medical profession will be encouraged to train in CAM. The Foundation admitted this. They changed their focus from facilitating the regulatory process for CAM practitioners to "educating" the medical profession about CAM in order that this quango could get more funding to continue. It makes more sense because they already have a medical qualification, they won't have to go through the training that we do. They will do their weekend courses and call themselves, acupuncturists, aromatherapists and reflexologists and it is THEY who will get the referrals. In Europe, CAM is only practised by the medical profession.

I went on a one day seminar the other day to learn about a subject in which I am considering doing a full qualificiaton, just to get more information before I sign up. There were 10 of us. I was the only CAM practitioner. The remainder were all nurses. They all worked together and were talking about how they were going to incorporate this new "therapy" into their work whereas I was saying, I wouldn't go near any patients until I was fully qualified and knew what I was talking about before treating or offering advice. They couldn't understand what I was talking about. Yet these people have always and always will be taken far more seriously than us, with all our training. At the end of the day the nurses were planning their next "CAM course. A day learning "hand and foot reflexology". I was gobsmacked to say the least. What an insult to the rest of us who have religiously done our training over 12 months or more, with A & P and pathology on top of that, engaged in 80 odd case studies and research before we launch ourselves on the public? It's not CNCH that will bring us credibility, it's research. Proof of the pudding is what is required when our treatments are carried out properly. Not a nice buff and shine hand and foot massage which is all the nurses will be capable of carrying out under this kind of "training".

At the end of the day, I think we have to do down the Statutory route to be taken seriously and even then we will struggle for credibility. You only have to look at the Chiropractors and Osteopaths to see what I mean. When in a couple of years time, the CNCH is proved to be a wasted exercise and a massive waste of public funds, that spending and effort will need to be justified and Statutory Regulation for CAM will be perceived as the answer. So my view is - forget about CNCH, it's a toothless tiger and will die of starvation in the not too distant future.

That would not have been my advice if it was an organisation that listened to the professionals in its formation. I would have said to professionals, register - be proud and be registered but CNCH is nothing for us to feel proud of. Best advice is to distance yourselves unless you want to be part of creating a beast that benefits only those with big egos and vested interests.

Edith Maskell
Angela Rawlins
Mar 19 2009 6:23PM
Thanks Edith, for your thoughts.

It seems to me that we need to make the public aware that nurses etc do not do the full training in CAM! Wow, if we set up as doctors or nurses, we'd be in for it!
Raymond Major
Apr 15 2009 2:09PM
hallelua, someone with some knowledge and experience in the cam world speaking out against a useless waste of space and money.
why are there now THREE regulators???
what we want in cam is something like the GMC to oversee all therapies, this is what i understood was going to happen.
but all along it's been a case of 'if i get the top job i'll get you in on the next rung' i.e. you scratch my back i'll scratch yours, or shoulder tapping as edith calls it.
what happened to the input of PA's such as CthA ect.ect???
what are we paying for? who are these people who are in chage? who put them there?
as far as i can recollect i have never been asked to elect anybody to any committee or ruling body, and i've been a member since the days of the old G.C.P.
wake up fellow therapists, ask your self what you are paying for and how these regulators are going to help the industry.
how is it that suddenly CthA has become a division of a training and media company!!!! how can it represent us by being part of a corporate business????
food for thought, think long and hard and consider Edith's comments (she's been at the sharp end of govering bodies for many years) she knows what she's talking about.
Mike Colquhoun
Apr 17 2009 2:22AM
Thank you Edith for replying so comprehensively.
I am again impressed with the amount of work you and your colleagues are doing on our behalf and find your thoughts most helpful in arriving at a conclusion.
I had noticed the lack of complementary therapists involved in the CNCH management structure and the number of nurses and academics described as ‘lay’ representatives. They are clearly neither lay nor representative, and if they ever get to set the examination standards then most complementary therapists working to-day would very soon be unemployed.
The only thing I'm not sure I agree with you on is that we should have only one regulator.
The Allopathic medical profession's approach to our therapies is so arrogant that, as I see it, it is inevitable that there will be scandals involving patients suffering 'accidents' at their undertrained hands.
Arrogance and a lack of knowledge make a dangerous combination.
This arrogance has landed them in it up to their necks on several occasions over the years [from Thalidomide to Bristol] and I think we would be committing a grave error in recognising their qualification to do our job unless they have undertaken a proper course and learned the ethos behind how we work as well as the strictly academic bits of what we do.
Over the years we have been proven right in our ‘outlandish’ and ‘unscientific’ proposals so often and eventually mainstream has slunk down the road behind us pretending they knew that all along. The 'Pain Gate Theory' [tens] and Holism to name but two.
If the GRCCT insist on a proper training before recognising a qualification most of them will join the CNCH and when the inevitable happens the GRCCT will be on firm ground in disowning them and pointing up their lack of proper training.
There is a reason why complementary therapies have grown so fast in the last few years and it is precisely because of this arrogance within mainstream, the general public have come to mistrust it.
This does read like an attack on mainstream, I rely on them, as we all do but I do not like parts of their way of doing things.
Again thanks for your thoughts
Yours aye Mike
Tracy Howard
Jun 25 2010 5:41PM
"At the end of the day the nurses were planning their next "CAM course. A day learning "hand and foot reflexology". I was gobsmacked to say the least. What an insult to the rest of us who have religiously done our training over 12 months or more, with A & P and pathology on top of that, engaged in 80 odd case studies and research before we launch ourselves on the public?"

Without malice & with respect I reply:-
Please don't tar all with the same brush. I am a registered nurse / midwife & have done my full 12 months holistic massage training & a refresher in A&P as I know I'd rather be taught things 100 times than assume I know it all.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying about regulatory bodies, & as medical professionals we have regulatory bodies who would have us in court quick as a flash if we did any 'treatments' we weren't fully qualified in.

I also do not advertise the fact I am an RGN/RM within my literature so as not to fool the public into thinking I know more than my colleagues whom are not medically qualified.

Please lets try to work harmoniously together for the greater good & to educate these ignorant people whom forget stress contributes to 80% of illnesses (including cancer).

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