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How MTI and CNHC work together for massage standards

Michael Watson

Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) Chair Michael Watson

CNHC enjoys a very good working relationship with MTI and I am delighted to have been invited to write this piece in advance of the MTI conference on 22 April where, you will be able to meet CNHC Chief Executive, Margaret Coats.

How we work together

As I am sure you are aware CNHC is different to MTI. Rather than being a professional association we were set up as the UK voluntary regulator and we have also been approved as the holder of an Accredited Register by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

We work with 49 professional associations who carry out the initial verification check on standards for applicants to our register. You will know if you are registered with us that MTI is one of these ‘verifying organisations’.

So we keep MTI up to date with regulatory and registration issues and we hold bi-annual meetings where we bring our verifying organisations together to share experiences and ideas. MTI sends a representative to these meetings wherever possible and we always value the contributions made by those who come along.

We also have a reciprocal arrangement where we provide a link to MTI’s website on the CNHC site and MTI provides information to the public and practitioners about us on the MTI website.

Standing Up for Standards with CNHC

CNHC registration is voluntary and as such, I consider that all CNHC registrants are Standing Up for Standards. If you’re registered with us then you are making a statement that you sign up to standards in massage therapy.

Given this focus on standards, part of our role, which may be less visible to you, is the work we do behind the scenes to encourage wider access to complementary healthcare. The last 18 months have been particularly busy on this front.

  • Encouraging GP referrals - It was following a request made by CNHC to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) that the General Medical Council (GMC) agreed to update its guidance to doctors to confirm that they can refer to practitioners on Accredited Registers.
  • CNHC paves the way for greater involvement in public health workforce - In 2015 we noticed that the Royal Society of Public Health’s (RSPH’s) report on Rethinking the Public Health Workforce made no mention of disciplines in our sector. We alerted the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to this omission which led to a meeting and now a joint project between PSA and Royal Society of Public Health in which they are exploring the role that practitioners on Accredited Registers can play in the wider public health workforce. All CNHC registrants were invited to take part in the project survey and a report will be produced in spring this year.
  • Feeding into NICE’s work – We respond to NICE consultations and our 2016 campaign led to NICE keeping complementary healthcare in its guideline for supportive and palliative care. Early in 2017 we were involved in a roundtable discussion with NICE Deputy Chief Executive, Professor Gillian Leng, where we made the case for inclusion of our disciplines, for a focus on patient-reported outcomes as part of evidence, and also for a greater emphasis on patient and public involvement in NICE’s work.

Ongoing joint work

To conclude, I am very pleased to say that CNHC will continue to work closely with MTI to enhance the role and standing of massage therapy and to maintain high standards wherever we can.

To find out more about CNHC visit our website or call 020 3668 0406.

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