Informing UK policy development on the regulation of CAM practitioners: Lessons from Hong Kong?

Anna Dixon, Stephen Peckham, Po Ying Amy Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Public policy discussions on how to regulate acupuncture and herbal medical practitioners have reached a stalemate in the United Kingdom. After considerable activity in the first half of the current decade a wider review of professional regulation has re-opened the discussion as to the most appropriate way to regulate the practice of all health-care practitioners. In the meantime, the public continues to consult complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners in large numbers and self-medicate with herbal products and other natural remedies, posing challenges for policy-makers as to how to ensure public safety. In the NHS, providers and purchasers struggle to reconcile demands for access to CAM services with their clinical governance requirements. Hong Kong implemented new arrangements for the statutory regulation of traditional Chinese medical practitioners in the 1990s and has experienced the challenges of regulating a large established private market as well as integrating Chinese medicine further into the public health system. This experience is analysed in order to see whether the approach adopted there could address the public policy challenges faced in the UK. The article finds that, despite key cultural and historical differences related to the provision and use of CAM services, the similarities between the health-care systems and the reasons for moves to professional regulation in Hong Kong and the UK provide useful insights into what is happening in the UK in relation to service provision and the relationship with the NHS and the medical profession. These are discussed in the light of current health policy developments in the UK. Journal compilation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-728
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007


  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Hong Kong
  • Profession
  • Regulation
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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