Alternative Medicine

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Iris Robinson Iris Robinson DUP, Strangford

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how the pilot project to provide complementary and alternative medicine-CAM-within the NHS in Northern Ireland will be administered.

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office

GPs attached to the selected practices within the pilot will refer their patients for treatment to one of the therapy groups included on the scheme. These are at present osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture, massage and aromatherapy. Get Well UK will receive the referral and contact the patient to make an initial appointment for them. The use of Get Well UK will remove the administration burden from the CAM therapist and allow them to focus totally on patient care. All stakeholders (patients, practitioners, GPs) will be asked for their feedback. This information will be collated by Get Well UK and will be independently evaluated.

A steering group will be established, chaired by the Department and containing key stakeholders from the health and social services boards, the various CAM therapy governing organisations, GPs and the health and social services councils. This group will monitor the service, including that provided by Get Well UK, and evaluate the feedback from GPs, patients and practitioners. The group will consider where necessary during the pilot any changes that need to be implemented to ensure that the scheme meets its aims and objectives.

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