Skip to content

OU on the BBC: The Other Medicine - Programme 5: Fit To Practise

Updated Tuesday 14th September 2004

Anna Ford asks what standards ensure therapists are fit for the task, in the fifth programme in the BBC/OU series The Other Medicine

The misery of migraine - does CAM hold the answers? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission Could the problems of delayed diagnosis or dangerous advice be avoided with tighter regulation and better training in CAM? Could this stop vulnerable or desperate people being relieved of their cash by charlatans and quacks? How can patients find out who to trust?

Can anyone call themselves a homeopath or an osteopath? (Osteopathy was the first CAM to be properly regulated, and only those practitioners who have attained a prescribed level of training can call themselves osteopaths). What about crystal therapists? Doctors can go on day courses and call themselves acupuncturists, whereas traditional practitioners of Chinese medicine see their training as a lifelong project.

How does regulation in the CAM world compare with the “conventional” medical world? How have internal political power struggles within CAM slowed progress in this area? The House of Lords Select Committee report recommends that each therapy should have a single regulatory authority with clear guidelines on competency and training – how likely is that, and what are the hurdles? At the moment, most practitioners are free to practise as they like after they are qualified – should CAM therapists be subject to the same sort of five-yearly revalidation that doctors now have to undergo?

We speak to students of CAM at various stages of their training – comparing, say, the four year or longer training in osteopathy with a two day course in aromatherapy massage. Given that many therapies incorporate a considerable element of diagnosis, some have argued that therapists should do more basic medical science training (in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology). Is this another example of medical colonialism?


This website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The BBC and the Open University are not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the OpenLearn website. The BBC and the Open University are not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor do they endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

First broadcast: Tuesday 21 Sep 2004 on BBC Radio 4

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Making of Modern Medicine: Medical Pioneers Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: SCRAN article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Making of Modern Medicine: Medical Pioneers

The Making of Modern Medicine explores the history of medical ideas and how practitioners made breakthroughs in understanding how the body worked, about the causes of disease, and how they discovered new treatments.

Article
Coming up on the BBC Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Dreamstime article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Coming up on the BBC

Coming soon to a TV and radio near you: highlights of upcoming programmes co-produced by the OU and the BBC.

Article
OU on the BBC: Saving Species Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Saving Species

Celebrate biodiversity and wildlife conservation with Radio 4's weekly Saving Species

Article
Pi postcard solution: How much space does a mouse need? Creative commons image Icon andrew c mace under CC-BY-NC-SA licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Pi postcard solution: How much space does a mouse need?

If you needed to lengthen some string tied round the earth for a mouse to sneak through, how much more string would you need?

Article
OU on the BBC: Desperate Midwives - About The Series Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Desperate Midwives - About The Series

Desperate Midwives is focused on the labour ward of Derby City General Hospital, the midwives who work there are the mums and babies they deal with day by day.

Article
Open University programmes on TV, radio and online Creative commons image Icon Kevin76 under CC-BY-NC-ND licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Open University programmes on TV, radio and online

For half a century, the OU has produced programmes with the BBC (and now, other broadcasters). Here's a guide to what's coming up in the next few days, and what you can catch up with via iPlayer.

Article
World Snake Day: snakes in religion Creative commons image Icon By LongitudeLatitude via Flickr under Creative Commons license under Creative-Commons license article icon

History & The Arts 

World Snake Day: snakes in religion

To celebrate World Snake Day (16th July), the OU's Graham Harvey explores how snakes have slithered sinuously through sacred ceremonies and stories for many millennia.

Article
OU on the BBC: More or Less - HPV Vaccine, Qatar migrant workers and chocolate diets Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Thodonal | Dreamstime.com article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: More or Less - HPV Vaccine, Qatar migrant workers and chocolate diets

Tim Harford and the More or Less team investigate the numbers behin the side-effects of the HPV vaccine, deaths of migrant workers in Qatar and look at the story behind the chocolate experiment designed to fool the press. 

Article
Learning at Work Day 2011 Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Adult Learners Week article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Learning at Work Day 2011

Learning at Work Day is an annual awareness campaign organised by the Campaign for Learning (CfL) as part of Adult Learners' Week. Delve into these links to get involved.

Article