Most medical and complementary medicine practitioners will have some awareness of the government-driven requirement to set and maintain explicit standards for education and professional development. For many doctors, revalidation has become a concern because they worry that it will raise the requirements for practice and increase bureaucratic documentation in support of the process. For those who have integrated complementary practices into their work within the National Health System, issues of registration and regulation add a further complication. The publication of the Department of Health consultation document on proposals for statutory regulation of herbal medicine and acupuncture in March 2004 raises issues of particular significance for medically qualified practitioners (such as ‘medical acupuncturists’), and other health professionals whose practice includes complementary skills. This paper focuses on the educational implications of these recent developments and offers an informed perspective that includes a reflection on how education and training (as initial training and as continuing professional development) can best meet the needs of acupuncture practitioners in this fast-changing environment.
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