BMA's `alternative' therapy warning

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The Independent Online
COMPLEMENTARY AND alternative medicine should be regulated to change the current unacceptable situation where people without training can practice it, the British Medical Association has said.

In a report to be submitted to the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Lords today, the BMA calls for a regulating body to be set up for each form of therapy. They would keep lists of competent practitioners and run a complaints procedure.

Public interest in alternative medicines, including acupuncture, herbalism and homeopathy, has grown in recent years, and the BMA believes that people need protecting against unscrupulous practitioners.

The latest figures produced by the Office of Health Economics show that the NHS spent pounds 1bn on the treatment of chronic and other conditions for which patients often seek help from Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM).

The British Complementary Medicine Association (BCMA) welcomed the BMA report but said that conventional doctors could be more helpful about CAM. Julian Baker, a BCMA spokesman, said: We would like to see proper integration between conventional and complementary medicine."

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