There's already an interesting analysis up from the Black Duck.
So what is to be done? Well, the first thing is that setting up voluntary regulators that rubber stamp quack training and practices only legitimises irrational, fraudulent and dangerous practices. It will risk giving extra undeserved standing to nonsense and will not protect the public from delusional and/or deceitful actions.
The whole thing has been a huge waste of money. The hundreds of thousands of pounds given by the government to set up this body would have been much better spent on training Trading Standards Officers in the issues of alternative medicine. As Professor David Colquhoun argues, the new Trading Standards Laws that came into effect last May have probably made much of alternative medicine illegal. "The gist of the matter is that it is now illegal to claim that a product will benefit your health if you can’t produce evidence to justify the claim." The law is clear: “falsely claiming that a product is able to cure illnesses, dysfunction or malformations" will be illegal. And as alternative medicine ceases to be alternative as soon as there is good evidence of efficacy, a lot of quacks could be in trouble.
What is standing in the way of people being prosecuted for making false health claims is the appropriate expertise within Trading Standards to evaluate the claims and initiate the appropriate prosecutions. There appears to be a situation evolving where there could be a large clash of government policy. It is likely Trading Standards will start prosecuting registered members of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council. Now, that will be a sight to watch.
David Colquhoun serves on OfQuack’s Conduct and Competence committee.
It would appear to be true that Trading Standards currently lacks the appropriate expertise to evaluate claims and initiate the appropriate prosecutions:
Patients to be given 'personal health budgets'
They will allow patients to buy anything that their local healthcare service deems a good use of NHS resources, including private and national health service treatments, and alternative therapies.
That last link also says that the personal health budget scheme is proving to be controversial after it emerged that money had been spent on football tickets, annual gym membership and, in one case, a two week holiday to Spain.