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How CNHC keeps complementary healthcare on the health and care agenda

This June 2017 update shares information about what the CNHC does to keep complementary healthcare on the health and care agenda of government.

1. CNHC participates in roundtable meetings with NICE Deputy Chief Executive

CNHC has participated in two roundtable meetings with Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). The meetings, held in January and May 2017, have been facilitated by the Research Council for Complementary Medicine (RCCM). The meetings have provided the opportunity for those present to find out more about NICE’s approach to evidence when developing and reviewing guidelines. They also gave space for participants to air concerns about NICE recommendations to remove or omit complementary health approaches from recent guidelines and to explore new ways forward. These have very productive and respectful meetings held in a spirit of mutual learning and recognition. Professor Leng is keen to continue the dialogue and we will provide updates in future CNHC newsletters and policy updates.

2. CNHC participates in NICE Shared Decision-Making Collaborative

Following CNHC participation in the roundtable meetings with NICE Deputy Chief Executive, Professor Gillian Leng, CNHC Chief Executive Margaret Coats was invited to attend NICE’s Shared DecisionMaking Collaborative. This event is part of the way NICE explores how it can support shared decision-making with patients through its guidance and tools. Shared decision-making means fully involving patients in decisions made about their care. The audience included delegates from NHS England, NHS Lothian, the General Medical Council, Health Education England, Healthwatch England, National Voices and a range of universities and patient representative organisations. The day involved reviewing progress made by NICE since 2016 in taking forward shared decision-making and looking at new ways forward. CNHC Chief Executive Margaret Coats who attended the event commented: “It was a really interesting day, with excellent speakers. I found the opportunity in group discussions to raise the role of our registrants and I made some good connections which we can follow-up in the coming months. It’s so useful for us to have the opportunity to meet with key people at national and UK wide events such as this. It helps us raise awareness about CNHC and complementary healthcare more generally which is a key part of our work.”

3. CNHC Chief Executive presents on Accredited Registers at All Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Health

Margaret Coats was invited to speak at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Integrated Health in April 2017 about the role of Accredited Registers. She spoke to a room of representatives from a number of professional associations and Accredited Registers. The Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA’s) Head of Accreditation, Graham Mockler, was also present and responded to questions about the growing scheme. CNHC is one of 23 organisations which hold an Accredited Register. There are 30 occupations represented across all registers which cover a wide range of health and care professions including complementary healthcare. The total number of practitioners on Accredited Registers is just over 80,000. All practitioners registered with CNHC are on our Accredited Register and are entitled to use the CNHC quality mark which confirms this fact, for the registered discipline(s).

4. CNHC registrants speak out for greater role in public health

In February CNHC sent a survey to all CNHC registered practitioners to find out about registrants’ experiences of trying to work with local GPs and the NHS. Over 1400 responses came in with practitioners speaking out about both the opportunities and the barriers they faced when trying to engage with the NHS. Nearly 600 of those who responded said they have tried to work with the NHS. Of these, just over 100 said they had been successful in some way and shared a wide range of services. Over 600 who responded to the survey described barriers such as lack of awareness, knowledge and interest through to resistance and scepticism about the use of complementary healthcare. Where there was interest, lack of funding was also often cited as an issue. CNHC fed the survey results into the Professional Standards Authority / Royal Society for Public Health’s joint project about the role practitioners on Accredited Registers can play in the wider health workforce – a project CNHC initiated. We will keep you posted of any updates.

5. CNHC response to Charity Commission consultation

CNHC provided a robust response to the Charity Commission consultation on how the law on charitable status applies to organisations that use or promote complementary and alternative medicine. The Charity Commission was seeking responses about what type of evidence it should accept when considering whether an organisation can have charitable status. Details on the government website state the following: ‘The Commission says that it must rely on evidence to be assured that there is public benefit, and the consultation focuses on the nature of evidence it should require of organisations using or promoting CAM that apply to register as charities.’ You can see CNHC’s response on its website.