A Complaint About CNHC Complaints
The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council has a clearly defined code of conduct and complaints procedure. What happens when they are tested?
As you may be aware, the CNHC has been processing complaints by Simon Perry against 14 of its registrants, for making medical claims beyond those allowed under its code of conduct. Specifically paragraph C.15:
Any advertising you undertake in relation to your professional activities must be accurate. Advertisements must not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated.
The outcome of this was decided in November and resulted in censure (but not suspension) of the registrants, and:
they found that the registrants had made claims about the therapy offered which appeared to imply more efficacy than evidence necessarily provides.
The registrants involved were given four months to remove the misleading claims from their websites and literature. This has now expired, and in at least 11 of these cases, the original claims continue to be displayed.
When this was pointed out by Mr. Perry, the CNHC's response was not only to refuse to follow up the complaints, but to inform Mr. Perry that future complaints in similar vein would not be followed up for at least six months.
I view this to be unacceptable behaviour.
This is clearly against the CNHC's own complaints procedure. Furthermore, it goes against the whole point of the CNHC's existence in the first place, which is for the "purpose of protecting the public".
What is even more worrying is that the CNHC is seeking to expand its range of supported practices to include both acupuncture and herbal medicine, both of which have much more serious risks than the Reflexology complained about.
Here we have clear matter of public safety – inflated medical claims – in its own registered practitioners, for which their own complaints procedure has been followed, and where the complaints were upheld. And yet not only are they failing to act in these cases, but they are explicitly expressing their intention to not act, and to ignore future complaints of the same kind.
This surely needs some kind of investigation by their parent Department.