Models of provision of acupuncture in primary care

| February 8, 2010 | 0 Comments | 211 views

In order to facilitate the potential integration of acupuncture, and other CAM services, into the NHS, a greater understanding is required of possible models of provision. The Foundation for Integrated Medicine (1997), the Scottish Office Department of Health (1996) and the Medical Care Research Unit in Sheffield (Luff and Thomas, 1999) have examined methods used in general practice within England, Wales and Scotland. These include on-site provision by healthcare professionals, on-site provision by private practitioners, referral to NHS hospitals or complementary medicine referral centres, delegations to off-site private practitioners, and the use of networks of experienced medically qualified complementary practitioners (as has been established for homoeopathy at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital). With the first Primary Care Trusts 'going live' this year, priority should be given to investigating nationally the optimum method of service provision.

Concerns have been raised about the limitations of CAM service provision on the NHS (Worth, 1995), and points have been highlighted which could possibly dilute the true potential of CAM when it is integrated. For example, Worth (1995) has warned that:

• The use of CAM therapies may be restricted to minor ailments or, at the other end of the scale, to chronic and incurable diseases where CAM is often viewed as the last resort
• CAM therapies sometimes may not show benefits as rapidly as conventional medicine, and doctors may resort too quickly to orthodox drugs if a condition does not improve within set time limits
• In addition, if CAM is subsumed within conventional medicine the opportunity to be “different” could be lost.

However, if the integration is accompanied by sufficient information and training opportunities for all involved, these risks may never materialise.

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