Ireland | Cam-Regulation


Summary of the country's general legislation of CAM.

Go directly to legislation of specific CAM therapies in Ireland:
Acupuncture – Anthroposophic medicine – Ayurveda – Chiropractic – Herbal medicine/Phytotherapy – Homeopathy – Massage – Naprapathy – Naturopathy – Neural therapy – Osteopathy – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - Other treatments

Ireland became a member of the European Union (EU) in 1973 (11). Ireland was a founding member of the Council of Europe on 5 May 1949 (12).

The legal and regulatory status of CAM and CAM practices

None of the CAM treatments are regulated or restricted in Ireland (41) Consequently, both medically and non-medically qualified professionals are allowed to practise CAM (106). Medically qualified practitioners with a university degree in medicine (MD, nurse, midwife) and physiotherapists are recognized as regulated health professionals (7, 157).

The Medical Practitioners Act 25/2007 establishes that medical personnel must be registered in the General Register of Medical Practitioners, and article 47 links this act to the EU Directive 2005/36/EC (5, 157). Different sources from 2002 – 2010 categorize Ireland as a country with “CAM legislation in preparation”(28, 43, 106). Only medical doctors are permitted to “treat venereal diseases, practise obstetrics, certify death, issue medical certificates for official purposes, prescribe a wide range of controlled drugs, give advice in court on specific issues, supply services to police for alcohol-linked traffic offences and administer anaesthetics” (28).

Two Ministry of Health reports consider establishment of a register for CAM practitioners:

  1. Report on the regulation of practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine
    in Ireland (2002)(158).
  2. Report of the National Working Group on the regulation of Complementary
    Therapists to the Minister for Health and Children, December 2005 (159).

The 2005 (159) report made 7 recommendations which were accepted by the Minister of Health:

  1. Statutory regulation for herbalists/acupuncturists/Traditional Chinese Medicine
    Practitioners. (Meetings held, but no proposals for regulation produced so far(160)).
  2. A robust system of “voluntary self-regulation” (VSR) for all others.
    (FICTA, the national umbrella body for CAM professional associations, has
    implemented a VSR framework for its members and has sent it to the Department
    of Health. The response received stated that the priority of the DoHC is to progress
    statutory regulation for the concerned therapies and that they support greater
    voluntary self-regulation for all other therapies(160)).
  3. Arrange workshop to encourage federation into one representative organization for
    those therapies where there was  more than one. (A few have been held(160)).
  4. A report on the state of the sector following the workshops. (Has not been produced (160)).
  5. Publication of an information booklet with a client/therapist charter for the public. 
    (A general leaflet (not a booklet) was published that advised people to check that therapists were qualified and members of a professional association (160)).
  6. Establishment of a forum for dialogue between the complementary and conventional medical sectors. (Has not happened) (160).
  7. Establishment of a National Annual Forum for the sector. (Has not happened (160)).
  8. Establishment of a working group to establish a Complementary Therapies Council to oversee issues in the complementary therapies area. (Has not happened) (160)).

The governmental supervision of CAM Practices

No specific CAM regulations found on supervision of health practices in Ireland.

The reimbursement status of CAM practices and medicinal products

No CAM treatment is reimbursed in Ireland (41). Private insurance may partially cover some treatments (41).


7. The European Commission. Regulated professions database. Brussels: EUROPA; 2011 [cited 2012 February 10, ]; Available from:

11. EUROPA. Gateway to the European Union; member countries. Brussels EUROPA
Communication department of the European Commission; 2011 [cited 2011 November 3]; Available from:

12. Council of Europe. Council of Europe. Strasbourg: Council of Europe; 2011 [cited 2011
November 7]; Available from:

28. ECH (European Committee for Homeopathy). ECH in European Countries. Brussels: ECH; 2011 [cited 2011 September 12]; Available from:

41. ECHAMP. Homeopathy and anthroposophic medicine in the EU: Facts and Figures 2011 (Third edition). In: European Coalition on Homeopathic and Anthroposophic Medical Products, editor. Third ed. Brussels: ECHAMP E.E.I.G.; 2011.

43. Ersdal G, CAM-CANCER consortium. How are European patients safeguarded when using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)? Jurisdiction, supervision and reimbursement status in the EEA area (EU and EFTA) and Switzerland. Tromsø: NAFKAM, University of Tromsø 2005 28 October Report No.: Report CAM 21.11.05-1.doc.

106. CAMDOC Alliance ECH ECPM ICMART and IVAA. The regulatory status of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for medical doctors in Europe. Brussels 2010 January 2010. Report No.: 2010.

157. Medical practitioners act, No. 25 of 2007. 2007 [cited 2012 January 26]; Available from:

158. Tim o’Sullivan. Report on the regulation of practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine in Ireland. Dublin: Health services development unit, 2002.

159. The National Working Group. Report of the National Working Group on the Regulation of Complementary Therapists to the Minister for Health and Children December 2005 BAILE A´ THA CLIATH ARNA FHOILSIU´ AG OIFIG AN tSOLA´ THAIR Le ceannach dı´reach o´n OIFIG DHI. Dublin: 2005.

160. Connolly S. Email: CAM in Ireland- comments from EFCAM (the European Federation for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) Dublin 2012.

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