Log In
Tuesday 25th October 2016

Will 'Ofquack' cure the doubters?

24th April 2008

The Economist examines the planned "regulation of the quacks".


With performance targets meaning GPs spend fewer than 12 minutes with a patient, it is not surprising that alternative medicine is big business.

Despite this, the market is unregulated, though the government is now seeking to change this with the establishment of the new Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), an independent regulator that is due to start work in the summer.

Dubbed "Ofquack", its focus will be on public safety rather than concerning itself with whether treatments actually work or not.

Practitioners who join will have to show they have insurance and proper training and there will be a code of conduct for members, though not everyone is supportive.

But homeopathy organisations have declined to co-operate seeing the CNHC as "an invasion of their turf" while others are worried that much of the preparatory work for the regulatory body was carried out by a group that lobbies for alternative medicine.

However, a greater concern is that "a simple certificate of safety will be interpreted as an official endorsement of efficacy".

Against this background is an NHS which has quietly been funding alternative treatments for a number of years with some homeopathic hospitals and doctors content to refer patients to alternative practitioners. Yet there is also an equally silent change of direction.

A survey for doctor’s magazine Pulse found that 25% of health trusts had cut homeopathy funding over the past two years. It seems that the NHS – "driven by hard-nosed considerations of cost-effectiveness" – now less keen on funding treatment for patients with alternative practitioners.


Share this page


Dennis Morrod

Thursday 11th June 2009 @ 6:08

So the government is going to 'regulate' 'ofquack' The Complementary health Council is it?. And who is going to regulate the - NHS and its £1000,000 a-year-doctors? How many people die prematurely each year from being misdiagnosed by NHS 'medical professionals'? At least 10,000 men will die prematurely in 2009 from the late diagnosis of prostate cancer in many cases - misdiagnosed cancer.
My severly disabled son was given 3 years to live (from birth) by the medical professionals recognised by the government - he died aged 31. He died in an NHS hosptial that - hastened his death, that then performed an Autopsy, my son, cut to peices and yet, buried with every operable disability - intact.

My son's life was (1973-2004) extended so dramatically thanks to - alternative medicine. Ofquack? Somebody is having a joke - surely?

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Mayden - Innovative cloud-based applications for healthcare
© Mayden Foundation 2016