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Posted by: , 15 Oct 2007 4:02PM
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The Register

Hi John I have just read your latest update (dated 5th Oct) which does nicely summarise all the latest activity, thank you! A couple of thoughts/questions: Where do FIH stand now on an integrated health service? I read recently that their aim was NOT to push for an integrated health service!!! What is their purpose then? The other question is that if a therapy/s (Reflexology for example) does not sign up for the register, will there actually be much point in the register at all, if leading therapies aren't a part of it???? The closer we get and the more I read, the less faith I have that THE REGISTER will actually promote the use of CAM, protect the public, encourage the NHS to refer to us, it seems more likely that we are going to be funding yet another political body to have meetings and to be paid large sums of money for the honour? Where is the innovation, where has the common sense gone, what about regulation? Thanks. Jayne


John Dent
15 Oct 2007 5:04PM

Hi, Thanks. The trouble is far greater as the Reflexology Forum may be split between those who want to have a separate "alternative" register and those who want just the one! Aromatherapy is also split. Reiki mees tomorrow to decide. Who now knows what will happen? My personal view is that the Foundation has invested too much (of the Dept of Health's money) for it not to have a scheme up and running calling itself the "official" scheme. That scheme will accept all therapies and may even set up a separatae standards body for those therapies!! (I do not know) FIH Chair, Kim Laverly has said publicly that it will not push for CAM to be accepted on the NHS. I have no idea why she said this - possibly because a year or so ago the doctors made such a noise when NHS allowed PCTs to pay for CAM if they wanted out of their budgets. Our advice is now to sit tight and wait and see what happens. As you say no point in joning something that has no value to you. John
John Dent
15 Oct 2007 5:07PM

Hi I omitted the last point you made. The "regulation" may just split up as now. After all CThA regulates its members through a Code and we do have disciplinary proceeses. We are voluntary and so would any other scheme. I have argued long and hard in all the groups that each "therapy" needs a national body to be the "heart ond soul" of the therapy, to gather its research, set standards, promote to the public and the other professions etc. This all may be lost (unless of course CThA takes the lead!!!!!!!) ? John
Mariette Lobo
15 Oct 2007 5:51PM

And why not, John? Everybody else seems to have jumped on the "taking a lead bandwagon". I think the CThA would do as good a job - if not better. What does everybody else think? Better the devil you know and all that.... Mariette
John Dent
16 Oct 2007 2:02AM

Hi It is not for "old John" to decide. A great deal is going on to try and get harmony (well some!). I would urge everyone to wait. If nothing satisfactory emerges CThA members still have the best consulted register in UK! John
Mariette Lobo
16 Oct 2007 8:03AM

I hope you're not implying the CThA is ageist! Who is our new Chief Coordinator, anyway - still no announcement.

16 Oct 2007 3:06PM

Hi John I agree, no point joining something that has no value to me.. but, if 'The Register' is marketed in such a way as to suggest that if a therapist is not 'registered', that they are somehow to be wary of, less professional, less qualified etc... then it's a HUGE issue.... It's such a shame that the whole process is turning into a very expensive (in terms of money and reputation) waste of time! Jayne
Mariette Lobo
16 Oct 2007 3:32PM

Jane / John - I too am concerned about the way this "register" is being/will be marketed. I didn't join the AC register for Aromatherapists (does it still exist??) and the implication was that if you didn't join, your qualification wasn't worth the paper it was written on. I think the CThA will have to ensure that members are made well aware of the facts before they part with their hard earned money.
John Dent
16 Oct 2007 7:42PM

I am sure CThA will do its best to set out all the opportunities/pitfalls when decisions are due. At present it is all in "proposals". Whene these are firmed into an actual scheme then it will be the time to decide. John
Edith Maskell
17 Oct 2007 8:05AM

Dear all I have been watching this discussion with interest. I sit on both the Reiki Regulatory group (RRWG) and also the Reflexology Forum (RF). So first hand knowledge and experience as to what is actually happening as opposed to second or third. I am also the RRWG main representative on the Federal Working Group (FWG). Am intrigued at John's comment about CThA going it alone.... except that it wouldn't be alone would it John? I am also intrigued at his differing perspectives. John made a statement today at meeting that if there was more than one regulator CThA would not recommend any to its members. As there are already 2 (leaving aside the FWG model) and suggestion here about CThA going it alone - please forgive me for I am a tad confused. For the record, the reason the Reiki, Reflexology and Aromatherapy professions have been excluded from the FWG process is not because of egotistical or personal agendas - or desires to set up "splinter groups" or "alternative" models; it is because their representatives have had a UNANIMOUS mandate at all times from their respective profession to fight for the right of the practitioner to practice without being burdened by a bureaucratic expensive regulatory system that is more designed for statutory regulation than voluntary self regulation. That means OUR rights. The problems is, there are too many non professionals involved with commercial interests and contracts of employment to protect, or projects to deliver on time; hence the system being proposed by the FWG is going to cost a fortune to operate. Over 100 Council Members - a project manager, 2 permanent staff, a Registrar .... Who pays to keep them in those jobs? WE do because the scheme has to be self financing. The latest proposal talks about "licensing"/accrediting teachers and schools - more cost. What other regulator accredits courses? Who will do the accredition? Who will set the criteria? Practically, this could be a logistical nightmare. Unless some bodies have already tied up the deal of course? What are we expected to do? Agree to ANYTHING and everything - just so long as we only have one regulator? This Regulator also plans to set insurance levels, one level. Is it appropriate that Reiki practitioners should pay the same insurance as an acupuncturist? These are all the issues we have been arguing on behalf of practitioners, and getting nowhere. The 3 excluded groups proposed models to the FWG that they felt were more suitable for the CAM industry as a whole - a light touch model, proportionate to the risk - we don't kill people in our work - which was far cheaper to run and less bureaucratic but we were not allowed the opportunity to discuss them. Instead we were thrown out on the pretext of "derailing the process". Be assured, there is no split within any of the 3 excluded professions. In fact, I would say, all the problems and Chinese Whispers and victimisation of individuals as I have witnessed of late has made them more cohesive and more determined than ever to stay united in the best interests of their respective profession and the professionals. Having been told there was another model now launched, a representative of the Department of Health recently responded "practitioners choose which model they wish to join". I guess in that case, by the end of 2008 it will be survival of the fittest. Multi disciplined practitioners who do want to register will choose the cheapest and simplest model regardless of how they are advised by their professional associations. John informed the meeting today that the FWG model is looking like it will be closer to £100 or more to register in 3 or 4 therapies. The annual cost of running the model as it is proposed will be in the region of £320 000, so no surprises there! If on the other hand, another regulator is in place which costs between £25 and £45 to be registered in 4 therapies ... you can all do the math. At that rate, the practitioner may well be able afford to continue membership of their professional association (PA) At a £100 plus, they may be forced to make some more choices which would be detrimental to them and professional associations. We know that practitioners need the continued support of their PA's, regulated or not. Neither the Foundation nor the Department of Health have made any promises about registrants on the FWG model being promoted to the NHS over any other model. So long as practitioners are regulated by somebody - they won't care. They have said they are only intersted in statutory, not voluntary. So there is no incentive. However, I would still advocate being registered because as the public become more aware of national regulators, no matter whether there are 1, 2 or 3 - that is what they will be looking for and as I said earlier, the fittest will survive. So we will probably, eventually end up with just one register and then we'll all be happy. Stay well Edith Maskell
Elisabeth Flynn
20 Oct 2007 1:21PM

Dear Edith Thank you so much for the clarity of your latest email. I was concerned a while ago to stumble on the letter from the Reflexology Forum on the AoR's website (just browsing...). - as a reflexologist member of the CThA I had not received a copy - so alarm bells started ringing. You have explained now that it is not just the Reflexology Forum which has concerns about the whole process, but the Reiki & Aromatherapy professional bodies too. With regard to your remark that the NHS will only recognise statutory regulation, then someone has to ask the question WHY is anybody bothering to pursue voluntary regulation at all? The public will continue to consult complementary therapists whether there is voluntary regulation in place or not - look how many of them currently do so. If we want referrals from the NHS - now come on, that would be good; regular income, having to spend less on marketing & publicity, etc.. - then no amount of talk, argument and "in-fighting" over voluntary regulation is going to make any difference. So could somebody please answer this one simple question: WHY ARE YOU ALL BOTHERING TO WASTE SO MUCH TIME AND EFFORT ON THIS; WHY NOT GIVE UP, GO HOME AND GET ON WITH WHAT WE ALL DO BEST - PROVIDE QUALITY TREATMENTS AND QUALITY TIME TO PEOPLE WHO CAN'T GET SATISFACTION FROM THE NHS????? We still have the public's confidence thus far. Please don't let them get wind of all of this as it might start to slide....Liz Flynn
Mariette Lobo
20 Oct 2007 2:02PM

All of this is already starting to have an effect on public confidence Elizabeth. Many training organisations (FE and private) are reporting declining student numbers and difficulties recruiting where before there were none. As for practitioners, 2 from my local support group (possibly more to follow) have given up practising altogether.
Elisabeth Flynn
20 Oct 2007 3:31PM

That is indeed a very sad state of affairs, Mariette. Liz
Edith Maskell
20 Oct 2007 10:46PM

Hi So .... the Government has decided that we should be regulated. A fact we have not been given a choice about. It's happening whether we like ot or not. But .... despite the fact the professions were invited to participate in the process, it is still to be agreed what is the best way forward for all = remember this is a Federal model - it includes 12 different professions at the moment and will, at a later stage, include others. They all have different needs. It's not an easy task. But hey, why are we worried, it's obviously not important? Let's just all bury our heads and hope the problem will go away by itself. Doesn't concern us. Let's pretend we don't care because some practitioners think "we're all right thanks Jack" and all those people fussing about regulation are wasting their time. Will we remain unconcerned though when the Government changes its mind (as surely it will) and decides, some years down the line, that we should be statutory regulated after all? Bascially, because we didn't take them seriously and get our act together and register voluntarily when we had the opportunity? No good then coming back to professional assocations, chat forums and their regulation representatives complaining that it's an injustice. The Government will NOT accept a situation where the majority of practitioners are on the outside of any regulatory structure. Regulation is about the protection of the public. The public will not be protected if the majority of practitioners don't register - just because they don't take this process seriously. It has been decided we should be regulated. We can either volunteer to do it or if we don't, they will stop us working, eventually. It would be nicer if those of us who are doing our best to protect the future of CAM practitioners were appreciated and we were given some credibility and respect that they have your best interests at heart. Many of us don't get paid. All our time is given voluntarily and over the years, a huge amount of work by a great deal of people has been contributed to the process, free or charge. It has been estimated that if all those involved in writing the Core Curriculum and National Occupational Standards on the Reflexology Forum were paid for the hours they put in, it would amount to in excess of £30 000. The work is all done voluntarily, we have nothing to gain. It's very upsetting when people don't volunteer to participate themselves and then crtitise the work of others. The sooner we wake up and smell the coffee, the better off we'll all be. This is not a register that you can choose to join or not. It's not just another database that promises to find us work. It's not another professional association. It's US volunteering to demonstrate our seriousness about the work we do which has a very positive affect on the health of the nation. The public will be clearer about what we're dong not more confused. Registering is an opportunity to gain credibility in a profession that we're proud to belong, at long last, whether it be in the eyes of the medical profession, the media or the public at large. Forget whether it enables us to work within the NHS. Not all of us want that. Many just want to be responsible and evidence that we are not afraid to be accountable for our actions. We're not part of the buff and shine brigage. We want to set ourselves apart and stand up and be counted. Having said all of that. It's cruical that whatever Regulatory Structure is finally decided = or whether there is more than one - practitioner should not be sold down the river in the process and that's why some professions are so passionate and refuse to be hookwinked. End of..... Make no mistake, if we are forced down a statutory route because we haven't taken voluntary regulation seriously enough, it will mean a model where the professions will have no say in the structure and our right to work will be taken away for good. If it costs £1,000 a year - they won't be interested in hearing stories of "I don't earn enough" or "I only do voluntary work" or "I only work part time". If pracitioners are working on ANYONE - regardles of whether they're earning money, it will be a criminal offence to practice, unless you're registered. So, regrettably, walking away just because the going is getting tough, is not an option that is available to us. Speak now and stand up for what is right or forever hold your peace are words that spring to mind. Best regards Edith Maskell
Elisabeth Flynn
21 Oct 2007 9:34AM

Dear Edith I'm sorry if you are feeling unappreciated for your work on our behalf. Up until the point where I read about the Reflexology Forum having doubts I was all for regulation. I too want CAM to be taken seriously in this country. I certainly do appreciate your efforts very much. I suppose I was just acting as devil's advocate and asking the question "why?" I think you have made a pretty good job of answering the question, and given us food for thought. It is just sad that the bodies involved have got so far down the line and then some start to have reservations. Maybe if I knew a bit more about what these reservations were it might be of some help. At the end of the day we want public confidence in what we do, but do not want to have to pay a high price for it as most of us are working part-time (ref the CThA survey). As for getting referrals from the NHS, the reason I think this would be a good idea is because it may further encourage public confidence in CAM (though having said that with the state of the NHS at the moment maybe it wouldn't?!).
Edith Maskell
21 Oct 2007 12:01PM

Hi None of the professions have any reservations about whether or not we should be regulated. All agree it will be a good thing for us. The reservations are that the model currently proposed by the Federal Working Group is too top heavy and expensive to run. It is bureaucratic and it's felt that the last thing we need is bureaucracy taking over and dictating to us. The people who will foot the bill to pay for hundreds of non processional/administrative "boys" to have "jobs" in this model, is you and me. We are to be voluntarily regulated. If it's too expensive. We simply won't register - why should we when we can still continue to practice? However, the Governemnt wants us regulated, so if we don't do it, they will force us into a situation where we no longer have a choice to volunteer. We'll be regulated by statute. We will then have no say in what is best for us. The excluded professions keep repeating this message but they aren't listening and they certainly won't listen whilst we're kept out of the discussions! It's an appalling state of affairs and they say we have freedom of speech and live in a democracy? The fact that the Reiki, Aromatherapy and Reflexology professions (who represent the majority of practitioners and are the professions where most are multi qualified - that's you and me - have lost our right to be heard. Just because our professional opinions don't "fit" with THEIR idea of how they want us regulated. All the professions were invited to the table in the first place to DEVELOP a model for regulation that was appropriate for ALL the professions within CAM. the professions of Reiki, Aromatherapy and Reflexology represent about 80 000 practitioners in the UK. The majority. This model is therefore NOT appropriate for the majority. There may be 8 professions within the FWG who have agreed it but between them, they represent the minority. That means that WE are being dictated to by the minority. The 3 excluded professions have been told that we can go back to the table IF - and only IF - we agree the model agreed so far. We don't. We have been told by the Indendent Chair of the FWG that she will not allow the group to back pedal "go over old ground" because she does not want us to "de-rail the process". Which and whose "process" is the question I'm asking? Unless of course I misunderstood. I thought this "process" was to develop a model of regulation that was "light touch" and appropriate for "low risk" CAM professions - not one that's designed for professions which are dangerous or professionals who are acting in a threatening fashion and putting the public's lives at risk! Doesn't feel very free, transparent or democratic to me. So forgive my passion but I've had it with being dictated to by the non professionals who have their own best interests at heart. So long as their salaries, pensions and contracts are paid at the end of the month, they're happy. Meanwhile, we're coming from a spiritual and caring position, trying to earn a living neverthess. The Chief Executive of the the General Chiropractic Council said earlier in the year at a Seminar - what we wanted was respectability and credibility - what we got was regulation, regulation, regulation. A telling and sorry tale I fear, if those currently making all the decisions have their way. Kind regards Edith

21 Oct 2007 4:13PM

Hi Edith Great to read your responses and,as you know, I feel as strongly as you and along the same lines. I still feel something niggling at the back of my mind, if Reiki, Reflex and Aroma do NOT come back to the FWG table to be involved with discussions and the current proposal goes ahead ... will those professions be able to Register? Or will they be excluded completely from joining the Register? Thanks again for all your hard work and dedication. Jayne
Edith Maskell
21 Oct 2007 5:29PM

Hi Jayne Yes - practitioners will be able to register with the Federal Regulatory Council (FRC) and/or any other regulatory council that exists. The criteria for registering will be the same - ie meeting professional standards - which are already set and published. The more worrying point is, from where will the FRC turn for it's professional expertise if the agreed lead bodies representing the majority turn their backs? Edith
David Sowden
21 Oct 2007 8:13PM

Hi ya Edith I have been reading these posts and receiving e-mails recently about regulation. I have had an e-mail from an organisation called the GRCCT telling me I need to send them money to be registered. Who is the GRCCT and does this connect to the FRC or FWG or whatever it's all called. It's all very confusing. And what is even more confusing now that they site the main aroma, reiki and reflex associations as members. They are NOT having a penny of my money unless it's offical and legit. Please can you or the CThA tell us members want is going on? Best Wishes Dave
John Dent
21 Oct 2007 9:13PM

Hi all, Can I as the current "official" represntative of CThA on regulation try and point out a few salient points in what is a hugely complex set of issues. Edith Maskell is now not representing CThA - she now represents The Federation of Holistic Therapists. This is NOT in any way to decry her views nor the huge dedication she has given and is giving to the whole process. I respect Edith's views greatly and she and I working together have in different ways helped to bring the process forward. The situation is very confused at present and it will stay so until the FWG publishes it's final proposed scheme in November. At that point we can all decide. The GRCCT is NOT part of FWG (the group that is trying to plan the scheme) but is made up of some people from within the Reflexology Forum. CThA (which is within RF) did not vote to be included. The GRCCT is not in any way "official" but then at present nothing is. It is a private venture (as far as I can see) it is hard to see as no names or constitution are provided on its website; it calls itself The UK Federal Regulator for Complementary Therapies which is of course very confusing when one we have all been working on has the title Federal Working Group. Edith has made many good points especially about the control of therapies. For CThA I have asked at many a meeting if the planned scheme is to regulate therapies or the therapists. I have never had a clear answer. Some of the proposals within the FWG have indicated that the control of the standards within the therapies would be by the regulators who would be mostly lay people advised by a very small number of professionals. CThA has and is urging FWG to make sure that the control of the standards in each therapy is by the national bodies for those therapies. There are 2 final meetings and it is possible that this view may succeed but it may not. The very top heavy and expensive structure that was proposed in July has been slightly reduced in the latest model from FWG. Again continued debate may get it simplified but it may not. CThA has consistently pointed out the need for a sensible affordable fee structure. In the end CThA can only see what the FWG proposes and then decide what it will recommend to members. Each individual will ultimately decide for her/himself based on what each thinks is best for them professionally and economically. At present CThA is NOT endorsing the FWG plans - it remains highly critical of several aspects - it is trying to help change the final plans through its membership of therapy bodies. CThA is urging everyone to stay within the discussions if they can and will (I appreciate that FWG has not allowed Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Reiki to have representatives at the last meetings - because it believed they were not supporting is policies - and this makes it impossible for them to make their arguments: CThA has formally urged FWG to allow them in but as a professionl association it has no direct representation. You will all be able this week to make your points direct to FWG; the CThA IT department is about to provide a templete where you can add you views and see what CThA has said in response to the latest progress report from FWG. CThA urges members to take no precipitative action until all the opportunities are clearly known. John Dent Regulation Representative CTHA
David Sowden
21 Oct 2007 10:16PM

Thank you John for clarifing some of the points I made. I look forward to anything CThA emails out, and regular feedback and news is appreciated. Best Wishes Dave
Edith Maskell
21 Oct 2007 10:42PM

A hugely complex debate and one that I should thoroughly enjoy the challenge of opening up to fully engage in a frank and transparent discussion. You like to Chair debates John - why not instigate a "no holds barred" Seminar where we can open up, present and discuss ALL the key issues and then circulate the entire debate afterwards, especially to those who could not attend. As a publisher there must be some mileage in that John? A place where everone can have their say? That way, CThA members and others will have the opportunity to hear the FULL story. Maybe for the first time? Then my respected colleagues inside and out of CThA could make their own informed decisions based on the TRUTH? As you will be aware, this was one of the projects I wanted to take "on the road" throughout the UK from the outset, when I was Chair of CThA but was never given the opportunity. An idea which might at least serve the purpose of bringing clarity to the confused, myself included! Kind regards Edith Maskell
Angela Rawlins
24 Oct 2007 8:14PM

Thanks Edith for all your information, gladly received. I can not see how the negotiations can proceed without the main therapy representatives. How can therapists trust the FWG?? How can the public also trust the register when these bodies have been excluded? I believe that the CThA already have perfectly good self regulation structure in place. The FWG could look to the CThA and other self regulating bodies for guidance - not fling them out. We therapists need make our views known - stand up and be counted OR as Edith said, we will end up with a register we won't like. Too many people moan and say nothing - too late once every thing has been 'agreed' and put through. Like many others, I also am multi-disciplined. I have to say, my first thought was 'another money making scheme'!
John Dent
24 Oct 2007 9:22PM

Hi Jayne, CThA has twice written to FIH/FWG formally urging it/them to have all the therapies at the FWG meetings - unconditionally - as not to have them there is a disservice to "Complementary Therapy" and to all practitioners as to allow splits and competing regulatory schemes damages the reputation of the therapies in both public and "medical" eyes. I note that FHT has also done this in different language. I hope you have sent your views to FWG. You can do this from our CThA website you can add your name or not as you wish. You must do this by 25th October for your views to be read. Quite a large number are doing this and the more FWG hears the views of practitioners the better as it has done no research itself into your views. John Dent
Angela Rawlins
24 Oct 2007 10:58PM

I posted last John. I have responded AND my husband who is a director of a merchant bank has also given me his opinions.
Elisabeth Flynn
25 Oct 2007 2:17PM

I too received the email from the GRCCT. I hope there are not too many therapists out there paying out money without reference to their professional organisations. I think it is a disgraceful state of affairs.....
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