Origins of the GCRN

It was Milton Powell, who had worked with McFadden, who sought to find a means by which to rally Naturopathic Practitioners and to organise them into an effective movement. He set about this by writing an article in ‘Healthy Life’ in which he urged the formation of a Nature Cure Association. He received a huge response from his article and, as a result, The Nature Cure Association of Great Britain and Ireland (NCA) was founded in 1920. Thus naturopaths declared their commitment to the establishment of Naturopathy in the United Kingdom. Following the adoption of a constitution five years later, the Nature Cure Association of Great Britain and Ireland became a legal entity in 1925.

In 1945, the NCA merged with another body, the British Association of Naturopaths, to form the British Naturopathic Association, which continued to represent the naturopathic profession for many years. In 1961, in order to emphasise the close connection between naturopathy and osteopathy, which had been taught together since 1949, the association changed its name to the British Naturopathic and Osteopathic Association (BNOA).

This association represented both the interests of the patient and those of the practitioner, and there was growing concern expressed that this might lead to a lack of confidence in any investigation of misconduct of a member. For this reason, the BNOA created the General Council and Register of Naturopaths (GCRN) in 1963. This was to act as a registering body for naturopaths independent of the BNOA, which became a professional association working for the benefit of its members.

By the late 1980s there was a concerted effort to establish a single body representing osteopaths as a precursor to the appointment of a Statutory General Osteopathic Council to regulate the osteopathic profession, a goal which was achieved by 1992. It was at this point that the BNOA reached agreement with the Osteopathic Association of Great Britain (OAGB), that the OAGB would look after the osteopathic interests of the members of the BNOA, and in preparation for this event, the BNOA council re-registered the title of the British Naturopathic Association, which then took over the representation of the naturopathic interests of the members of the old BNOA and this is the position in which we find ourselves today.

Suitably qualified naturopaths are registered by the GCRN which sets standards of education and practical skills, and maintains and enforces a Code of Conduct. They also join the British Naturopathic Association, which looks after their professional interests, such as providing publicity materials, publishing the British Naturopathic Journal, and running continuing professional development courses. Although the two bodies to have much in common, they function as independent bodies, each with their own Executive Council.