Complementary medicine in cancer care: Legal issues of medical negligence and redress

Peter White

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Aims: To compare and contrast how the law relating to medical negligence in England and Wales applies to conventional and complementary practice and to outline some of the legal issues which may arise. Methods: A thorough review of the literature was used to collect relevant information. This involved a comparative analysis of documentation, including Statutory Powers, Statutory Instruments, case law, books and journal publications. Results and discussion: Complementary therapists, regardless of whether they are private or NHS employees, are bound by the same duty of care for their patients as conventional practitioners and the same legal rules apply. If complementary therapists claim to possess special skills, then they are liable for actions arising out of clinical practice, in the same way as conventional practitioners. State registration, for the mainstream complementary therapies, is one way of improving the status of such professions as they become an integral part of the management of cancer patients. However, until they are fully integrated, a balance must be achieved so as to overcome any conflicts of interest between complementary and conventional healthcare practitioners and to facilitate acceptance of the former into the healthcare team. Conclusions: As complementary therapies are integrated into the care of cancer patients, controls and regulations must be implemented, possibly influenced by a legal framework, so as to establish a foundation for enhancing or adding authority to the ethical issues and guidelines which already exist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Radiotherapy in Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


  • Complementary medicine
  • complementary medicine in cancer care
  • legal issues of medical negligence and redress
  • medical negligence
  • oncology
  • redress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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