Chinese medicine training – naturally outstanding

Follow the experiences of acupuncture students and graduates at LCTA and find out what it's really like to study Traditional Chinese Medicine

Archive for December, 2009

Acupuncture training is likely to change not just their careers, but also their lives

Linda has been at LCTA for a year as the Undergraduate Course Administrator looking after all of the acupuncture students.  Here she explains a bit about what she does:

My role at LCTA is to answer any queries and deal with any problems that the acupuncture students may have.  Once the course begins, from day one, I’m the person they speak to about overdue course work, exam results and anything else that might be affecting them on a day-to-day basis.

The students first meet me at their Introduction Day.  Bonny and I go through information about the College and give them the relevant documentation and hand outs.  We also set up team exercises so that they can get to know each other.  It’s especially nice to meet the students right at the outset.  When I started a year ago, everyone had already begun the course and so it took me a bit longer to establish relationships with them.

The Introduction Day is a really good day.  I had my first one with the March intake.  I was absolutely petrified but as soon as it got going it was great.  I’m sure the students were nervous too, after all they were in a group of people they didn’t know at the start of a long course that would change not just their careers but also their lives – it must be scary.

I deal with all students in all years and no two groups are the same.  The dynamics of each group are very different and weekend students are different to weekday ones.  There aren’t any specific stages that every set of students goes through or specific issues that arise, you just take each group as it comes.

Exam time is the busiest time of year for me.  Everything else stops so that we can focus on that and then we have to get everything in order again before the beginning of another new year.  The main thing we notice with the students awaiting their final exam results is a general eagerness.  They want their results because they want to get on with setting up their practice.

When they come back for Graduation, the March ones especially haven’t seen each other for a while and so it’s a nice excuse to get together.  We had a whale of a time at this year’s Graduation Ceremony.  It was nice to mingle with the students for the last time before they took off to begin their new careers.

One of the graduates emailed me recently about something and she said it felt strange to think that they don’t have to come to College anymore.  She said it felt like the end of an era, she was missing it a bit.

My main advice for new students is to enjoy the course and take each step as it comes.  They may have some difficult times but they shouldn’t worry.  They should always try to remember why you they are doing it and most importantly, just enjoy it.

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The Statutory Regulation of Chinese Medicine: What you can do to help ensure it happens

Advice from LCTA Principal, Bonny Williams.

Statutory Regulation is essential for herbal medicine in this country. Having been committed to it so far, the government now looks like it has lost momentum.

Do not imagine that because the latest round of consultation on Statutory Regulation for Chinese medicine has passed, there is nothing more you can contribute. Even if you have already responded, whether you are a patient, a practitioner or an interested bystander, please write to your MP again urging the Government to go ahead with Statutory Regulation without any further delay. Each time you write a letter, your MP will let the Minister know that another letter has been received on this matter and the Minister will write back. This adds to the 5000 or so letters she has already received in this consultation round. Every single one helps our case.

So what do you say? Here is a rundown of the current situation:

Why statutory regulation is in the public interest:

  • Government has committed to statutory regulation of herbal medicine and acupuncture practitioners since 2001. In 1995 it published the result of a public consultation showing a 98% positive public response in favour of statutory regulation of this sector, but since then they have lost momentum. Now another public consultation has just finished. If statutory regulation is not granted very soon, the impact of new EU legislation on herbal practice and supply in 2011 will be devastating.
  • Herbal medicine is very popular and its use in the UK is widespread. According to an Ipsos MORI poll  (November 2008) conducted for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), 26% of UK adults have used a herbal medicine in the last two years and of those using herbal medicines, 56% had used a herbal medicine supplied by a practitioner.
  • The only way to be assured of well-qualified practitioners is via statutory regulation. Neither voluntary regulation nor licensing ensure independent regulation and accreditation of training programmes or continuous professional development. Only statutory regulation can ensure the continued availability of a wide range of herbal products.
  • Statutory regulation will make practitioners ‘authorised health professionals’ under the terms of the main EU Medicines Directive (2001/83/EC) and will allow them to have herbal medicines made by third-party manufacturers and suppliers under licence from the MHRA. This will ensure good quality products and continued supply of a wide range of herbal medicines
  • If herbalists are statutorily regulated like osteopaths and chiropractors, doctors will be able to safely refer patients for treatment

What will happen if statutory regulation does not go ahead:

  • If statutory regulation does not happen, the 2011 EU directive specifies that herbal medicines made for specific patients by a third party supplier should be removed from the market (e.g. traditional Chinese herbal medicine products).   Without statutory regulation, only herbal mixtures made on the practitioners’ own premises will be allowed to be supplied to patients. This will mean a great loss of consumer choice. Also a considerable number of suppliers and practitioners will go out of business.
  • As a result consumers will be forced to buy from unsafe internet sites or from bogus back-street practitioners.
  • Herbal medicine training is now to degree level – a postgraduate MSc degree at LCTA. Without statutory regulation universities will be reluctant to support herbal training – undoing years of work to ensure high standards of training.

If you think herbal medicine should be allowed to survive in this country, please write to your MP today in support of herbal Statutory Regulation. It will make a real difference.