Some months ago Sean Ellis launched an e-petition demanding that the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC, better know on teh internets as OfQuack...) ask for evidence of efficacy of the treatments that their registered practitioners, err, practice. At first this seems an entirely logical premise - a government-backed body that publishes what is effectively a list of 'approved' practitioners ought to have, as one of its criteria for inclusion on said list, whether or not the services they offer effective for what they claim them to be.
Not so, it would seem. Consistently criticised for being a vehicle for unproven therapies, the CNHC has a lot to answer for - as does the government which set the whole venture up. But today the government responded to the e-petition demanding evidence for efficacy with a typical fudge - a simple reiteration of the CNHC's current remit with no mention of why they've omitted the crucial efficacy criterion.
The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) does not promote the efficacy of disciplines practised by its registrantsis how the response begins. Perhaps not, but it does give the public a sense that by consulting with someone registered with CNHC, they're getting a therapy from a reliable source - in other words, the register legitimises all practitioners thereon, regardless of whether what they dish out/stick pins in/squeeze/dilute has any effect or is safe.
Regulation, whether statutory or voluntary, is about protecting the publicthe response continues. Marvellous, and about time too. So, by investigating the safety record of AltMed practitioners before including them on the list the more dangerous amongst them will be eliminated, right...? Nope, because there is no requirement for assessing safety or efficacy.
The whole response is basically nothing more than a re-hashed version of the government's justification for setting up CNHC in the first place - deliberately avoiding the issue of efficacy and leaving that up to individual choice. How on Earth one is meant to exercise individual choice without any evidence for efficacy is beyond me, it really is.
Fudge, evasion, obfuscation - any more words spring to mind...? The entire OfQuack scenario is a shining example of how pandering to a minority interest group is more important to the government than the principles of scientific enquiry and evidence-based medicine. We must not let this lie - I can only suggest alerting as many media outlets as possible to this farcical situation to put more pressure on the government to relent.