Guidance for Primary Care Groups and Trusts

| February 10, 2010 | 0 Comments | 263 views

GPs face potentially confusing guidance regarding their role in arranging for their patients to see CAM practitioners.Those GPs in our survey who did not believe it appropriate for acupuncture to be made available on the NHS (21%) cited reasons ranging from there being no proven efficacy and safety concerns, to there being no local services and a lack of information about acupuncture.The NHS Confederation report (1997) Complementary Medicine in the NHS: managing the issues, discovered four barriers to furthering complementary medicine usage which were consistently identified by healthcare purchasers, similar to the reasons GPs in our survey gave for not arranging acupuncture treatment for their patients. These were: lack of knowledge about therapists who should treat referred patients, lack of available funds, concern about the competence of practitioners, and lack of evidence.The doctors surveyed in the NHS Confederation report (1997) found an increase in the numbers of patients requesting information about CAM, although the patients did not necessarily view the NHS as their provider of CAM, but rather viewed the healthcare professionals as an information source. This patient perception adds to the importance of providing comprehensive information and guidance for general practitioners, particularly in light of our findings that 58% are arranging some form of CAM for their patients.

Guidelines for GPs should cover the following:

1 Definition of acupuncture
2 Where to find a local practitioner
3 Details of what qualifications are expected of practitioners
4 Details of GPs’medico-legal position
5 Which conditions are likely to benefit from acupuncture
6 Responsibilities in employing an acupuncturist—West Yorkshire Health Authority(1995)produced guidelines for GPs for the employment of complementary therapists in  the NHS.Updated, nationally available guidance should now be drawn up
7 Where to obtain further information,contacts,etc
8 Codes of practice and ethics one should expect therapists to follow.

There is a need for greater consensus on the part of the Government,Department of Health,NHS Executive, the medical profession,and acupuncture organisations to provide guidelines and agree how acupuncture and other CAM services can be integrated into the UK healthcare system.

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Category: Acupuncture Courses

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