Status of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Scotland: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. The supportive legislation and policy for the status and role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and massage in the Scottish healthcare system.

2. Part 7, sections 222-229 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 legislate the role of unregulated healthcare professionals and the role and responsibilities of accredited voluntary registers. Section 222 appears to be enacted across the UK however, are sections 223-229 enacted in Scotland resulting in the Scottish Government’s recognition of unregulated healthcare professionals who work in health care to support their service users with their physical and mental health? If not, why not?

3. If unregulated healthcare professionals (CAM and massage therapists), as per the Health and Social Care Act 2012, are not considered to be working in health in Scotland, which industry does the Scottish Government categories them as?

4. If the Health and Social Care Act 2012, 222-229, is not enacted in Scotland, what legislation does the Scottish Government have, and use, for the integration of CAM and massage into healthcare in Scotland?


1. The statutory roles, responsibilities and administrative structures for the provision of public health services in Scotland are set out in the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 ( (as amended). Chiropractors and Osteopaths are UK statutorily regulated Complementary and Alternative Medicines Services (CAMS). Scottish Ministers set the strategic direction and assign central government funding to NHS Scotland; however, it is for individual territorial NHS Boards to determine how to use that funding to meet the healthcare needs of their local population. There is no legislation specific to wellbeing services outside statutory regulation.

2. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA 2012) neither legislates the role of unregulated healthcare professions, nor does it establish a definition of healthcare professionals. This primary legislation made structural changes to NHS England and associated bodies, and moved the statutory regulation of Social Workers in England to the Health and Care Professions Council (since moved again to Social Work England). Part 7, s.228 of HSCA 2012 inserts Section 25D into the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 to establish the concept of Voluntary Registers. The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) does not accredit individual members of Voluntary Registers or any treatments offered. While Voluntary Registers do apply in Scotland, the legislation applies specifically to unregulated persons.

3 . The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 ( classified massage therapy and CAMS (other than Chiropractors and Osteopaths) as “close contact retail services”. There is currently no statutory definition for independent commercial wellbeing services.

4. There is no such CAMS legislation in Scotland. Osteopaths and Chiropractors are the only statutorily regulated CAMS and are regulated on a UK-wide basis under the Osteopaths Act 1993 and the Chiropractors Act 1994.

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