Very few people realise that the practice of complementary therapies and traditional medicines (CAM) is not regulated in Ireland. In response to the cessation in 2007 of the regulation/registration process of CAM practitioners which was initiated by the Department of Health and Children in 2001, FICTA has developed a model for voluntary regulation which aims to harmonise the regulatory mechanisms and qualification standards within the CAM sector in Ireland.
The model sets out a framework of regulatory systems, structures and processes by which self-regulation can be carried out with a view to upholding public confidence and trust in the standard and quality of treatments provided by qualified therapists.
It aims to provide cost-effective regulation which is flexible enough to adapt to the needs of different therapies, respond to changes in national policy and is readily understood by CAM users. It includes a Code of Ethics and guidelines on professional conduct and the qualification standards expected of complementary therapists.
As a robust regulation system, it will ensure that there are requirements in place for:
- entry on to the professional therapist register,
- conditions for remaining on the register
- specified behaviours which could result in removal from the register.
Issues concerning the safe and correct use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) as a basis of consumer protection are no different in principle to those which underpin modern biomedical practice.
As with most European countries, the justification for regulating CAM practitioners is to protect the public from incompetent and unqualified practitioners. The safe and correct use of CAM is best assured by appropriate qualifications and regulation which has the basic political intention of giving the public freedom of choice.