November 2010 Newsletter – Part 2

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November 2010 Newsletter – Part 2

2010-11-09T21:05:37+00:000000003730201011 in

Fozzys’ Forum November 2010
Regulation/GCMT/CNHC: This whole topic is one that generates probably the most confusion for members and indeed for lots of people within the organisations involved as well. Let me give you a quick review of the history. October 1997 saw the launch of ‘Integrated Health Care’, 1998 the Foundation for Integrated Medicine emerged, this body being actively supported by HRH The Prince of Wales. In 1999 Lord Baldwin, himself an active supporter and user of CAM, stated that the problem in CAM is that organisations seem to prefer ‘fission to fusion’. He also made it quite clear that unless therapy organisations were prepared to go forward with self-regulation then in due time standards and regulation would be imposed upon them. Also in 1999 the LCSP took the lead with the Fellowship of Sports Masseurs and Therapists (FSMT) and formed a representative body to act on behalf of the massage related organisations. Other professional bodies came onboard MTIGB, SMTO and MTI and in 2000 the Council of Massage Therapy Organisations (CMTO) was operating and it was this body that in 2002 became the GCMT a fully constituted body, recognised as the regulating body for massage therapy. Over the next 18 months the GCMT developed the National Occupational Standards for massage therapy, formalised the Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Code and had its web site up and running. In May 2004 the National Register was launched and the LCSP Register paid on your behalf for LCSP members to be included.
Following on from the reports from the House of Lords on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2000, the Princes Foundation for Integrated Health supported by the King’s Fund and Department of Health invited CAM healthcare groups to enter a regulation process. In 2005 it was decided a single federal body for CAM healthcare should be established to regulate the whole range of CAM disciplines. This work was carried out by a Federal working Group in 2007 which gave rise to the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The CNHC was created in January 2008 and spent 1 year putting in place the necessary procedures for the effective running of a regulatory body. The CNHC Register opened to practitioners in January 2009 and massage therapy was the first therapy group to be registered. It’s now 21 months since the register opened and CNHC now invite registrations from 9 CAM disciplines.
So that is the history, albeit convoluted, and where does it leave us as practitioners now in the great scheme of things?  Well if you are confused, that makes two of us !
Lets endeavour to try to simplify this situation; GCMT was established to unite the various massage related bodies, to bring harmony and common ground to training institutions and professional associations by have a ‘base line’ of acceptable academic training requirements, ethics and disciplinary procedures. Some could and would have higher standards than required but none would have below the minimum requirement and be recognised. By doing this GCMT acted as a massage information point for members of the public looking for qualified practitioners, indeed lots of ‘key’ words relating to massage bring GCMT up on page 1 of Google. So far so good! Unfortunately, the words of Lord Baldwin yet again rang, ‘organisations prefer fission to fusion’ and some massage groups have abandoned GCMT to set up yet another massage related organisation to suit their own particular agenda. Regardless of intent this has split the GCMT and called into the question the very viability of continuing the organisation and its role. Now the CNHC was set up and initially funded by the Department of Health and sees its role to be one of ‘protecting the public’ from incompetent or non safe practitioners of many different types of therapies, hence individual practitioners could apply and subject to them being verified as qualified, insured and competent could display the ‘kite mark’ of CNHC. The CNHC themselves are pushing this kite mark as the symbol to look for when contemplating using CAM therapies. The funding provided by the DoH is only until 31st March 2011, from that date onwards CNHC must be self-financing and the only revenue stream is of course registration fees. Now when CHNC went ‘live’ in Jan 2009 they predicted and hoped for 10,000 registrants in the first year. That sadly, was a tad optimistic; the latest re-calculated figures are a number of 7,000 registrants needed by 1st April 2011 to be self financing.  At the present time with just under 6 months to go before funding stops CNHC appears to have less than half the number required (abt 3,300). They are opening up to other therapy groups to hopefully swell numbers but ultimately,  I suspect your guess to the long term future is as good as mine. Will they get the numbers? What are the likely repercussions if not? What will happen to registration fees? The list goes on and ultimately time will tell. CNHC have intimated they have plans to develop talks with insurers to get patients fees recovered through private medical insurance schemes, for things like that to become a reality they must have the national coverage of registered therapists which at present is not there. There are some groups and indeed individuals that do not wish to be regulated at all and these can have a disrupting influence on the long term objectives of any long term cohesive plan.
The whole issue of regulating CAM has been going on for very many years, more years than many of us wish to remember but this process is by far and away the furthest we have come down the regulatory road and I suspect that it is not going to go away. As to the future, well GCMT is really in limbo, CNHC needs to get numbers in by April next year and therapists still wait for recognition.
For what it is worth my personal take on the situation is that this whole messy process could well be the last chance that therapists will have to be involved or have a say in the future of their destiny and retain any independence in their respective spheres of activity. However, I regret that the organisations and individuals who have displayed the ‘fission rather than fusion’ policy could stall or jeopardise the overall progress towards a harmonious self regulated complementary medical system. This could ultimately lead to the profession as a whole missing out on any opportunities being offered at the moment and even being discredited, disregarded or effectively being regulated into extinction.  Remember that Lord Baldwin also said ‘Unless therapy organisations were prepared to go forward with self regulation then in due time standards and regulation would be imposed upon then’.  It could be nearer than we think.
Continuing Professional Development or CPD:  This topic has generated fewer enquiries than before as I believe that generally members are accepting that it is something that we all have to do and is a requirement in all the other medical, paramedical and complementary fields. Certainly newer graduates have been brought up with it and for them it therefore holds no fears. Nevertheless, there are still instances of distressed phone calls, confusion as to what may or may not qualify as CPD, some people in denial and of course one or two ‘Ostriches’ with their heads buried deep in the sand.  We had a case at renewal time this year with a long standing member who was refused insurance cover because the person refused to comply with the CPD requirements of the Register, they were well aware of them but still refused to get involved. That person decided it was time to retire. At first glance it may appear harsh that somebody would be refused insurance cover and therefore membership and be forced out, but please remember those two outstanding insurance claims, we have to be professional in act and deed and now write it down and record it! We are only as strong as our weakest link and it would be unfair for a non professional attitude to create problems and risk the professional status of the rest. We are committed therefore to continuing our random CPD sampling and the results of lasts years sampling was generally encouraging with full participation and co-operation of those selected. It did shed light on some areas of weakness in certain cases and these have been addressed with members receiving advice and mentoring to bring CPD portfolios up to standard. This years sampling has now begun and I thank in advance, on behalf of all the membership, those involved for their co-operation as doing this audit is an important area I can verify as being done to the insurers.

November 2010 Newsletter

2010-11-09T21:04:32+00:000000003230201011 in

Fozzys’ Forum November 2010
CPD Assessments:  Continuing our policy of random sampling another batch of Members has been selected and in due course will have their portfolios reviewed. These checks are not meant to put into question your professionalism but are meant to be a positive endorsement to your commitment to lifelong learning.
LCSP Directory: All those Members who wished to be included in the directory have been individually contacted to verify their contact details; this directory will shortly be available on-line. Read the rest of this entry →

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