Please respond to the Charity Commission's consultation on CAM charities
Many charities promote or provide what is frequently referred to as 'complementary and alternative medicine', or CAM for short. This isn't an accurate term because the practices they promote or provide aren't always medicines, but it CAM can be a convenient term. What many do have in common is the lack of robust evidence for their efficacy and this sets them apart from conventional treatments.
But should such charities have the advantages and prestige of being registered charities? In the UK, charities are regulated by the Charity Commission and they have to meet certain requirements and standards, particularly with respect to 'public benefit'. There are many CAM charities that have already been granted charitable status but should they have been given this status in the first place and how should the Charity Commission decide whether any particular CAM charity establish that an organisation would have the beneficial impact necessary? How should the Charity Commission consider conflicting or inconsistent evidence?
These and other questions are part of the Charity Commission's current consultation: The use and promotion of complementary and alternative medicine: making decisions about charitable status.
This consultation was the prompted by the work done by HealthWatch Trustee Les Rose. He has written extensively on his blog about his battle with the Charity Commission and his posts there are well worth reading. Les's own response to the consultation is also published on his blog.
We know that several homeopathy trade bodies and other CAM proponents (eg 4Homeopathy, an umbrella organisation for UK homeopaths) are encouraging their members and supporters to respond to the consultation with their own particular view of what constitutes good evidence. Our members who share concerns about evidence in healthcare may like to submit their own responses.
Today's Guardian carries an article by Michael Marshall of Good Thinking: Should complementary and alternative medicine charities lose their charitable status? This gives some background and further details and their own response is available on their website: Our submission to the Charity Commission’s CAM charities review