Exercising choice in health treatment. Improving Access to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Europe A joint presentation by the European Council for Classical Homeopathy and the European Shiatsu Federation for the first EU Open Health Forum 17 May 2004.
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Exercising choice in health treatment
Improving Access to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Europe
A joint presentation by the
European Council for Classical Homeopathy
and the European Shiatsu Federation
for the first EU Open Health Forum 17 May 2004
Significant limits to patient choice and access:
Availability: - lack of qualified or recognised practitioners
Accessibility:- restriction of practice to doctors only
- restriction of products and medicines
- lack of information about skills and education
Quality:- lack of minimum standards, ethical guidelines
Financial : - mostly private provision
Patients accessing the benefits of CAM in their home country cannot necessarily access them in other Member States.
Practice and delivery
No official EU position on CAM particularly because healthcare services remain a national responsibility. (Art 152 EU Treaty of Amsterdam).
This means no recognition of professional qualifications or agreed criteria for competence, skills or education for CAM.
Herbal and homeopathic medicines together with food supplements are now regulated by EU Directives .
Called on the Commission to:
• carry out studies into the safety, efficacy, & use
• launch a process of recognising CAM
• encourage the development of research programs
• create a directive on food supplements
A Directive on food supplements is the only concrete response from the Commission and Council so far.
Conventional and non-conventional approaches to healthcare and those that practise them working together in an integrated approach offer a wider range of options for the greater benefit of patients.
The recommendations of the Council of Europe and WHO both offer good guidance on a constructive way forward for the EU and all individual Member States of Europe.