A Finchley doctor struck off last week for his shoddy work is free to carry on practising the treatment responsible for one of the biggest outbreaks of hepatitis B in British medical history.

Dr Madusadan Shivadikar who last week was censured by the General Medical Council for serious professional misconduct after 60 cases of Hepatitis B were linked to his clinic in Ballards Lane can carry on working as an alternative therapist just by moving to another part of the country.

The case highlights a lack of regulation of alternative therapies such as the 'autohaemotherapy' treatment responsible for the Finchley outbreak, which involved re-injecting samples of a patient's blood after mixing it with a saline solution. Practitioners do not need to join a register or pass any qualifications. Most are not qualified doctors and there are no national guidelines or governing body to monitor their standards.

Crucially the licensing scheme operated by Barnet Council and others to monitor alternative and complementary practitioners has only been adopted by 15 to 20 per cent of local authorities nationwide leaving Dr Shivadikar with a virtually free hand to set up a clinic outside London.

"The rule for complementary and alternative medicine seems to be that anyone can do whatever they want," said Paula Marie, vice-chairman and acting administrator of the British Complementary Medicine Association. "There is no national register for these practitioners and joining various organisations is voluntary. The public therefore has no way of checking on these people."

She added that she had heard of examples of doctors who were struck off moving to another part of the country and setting up a new alternative medicine clinic.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the licensing scheme was 'not widespread' across the country. "Anyone can practice acupuncture without qualifications or a licence," he said. "London boroughs and other authorities choose to use the licensing system but that is up to them."

The House of Lords select committee on complimentary medicine will be producing a report on the issue of regulation shortly.