Effectiveness And Cost Effectiveness Of Complementary And Alternative Medicine (CAM) For Multimorbid Patients With Mental Health And Musculoskeletal Problems In Primary Care In The UK
The Department of Health is aware that there is great and possibly growing interest in the UK regarding the use of complementary health approaches in addition to conventional health care available through the NHS. Past research has shown that as many 25% of the population have used a complementary therapy in the past 12 months but nearly all these people have had to pay for this treatment.The UK population is getting older and older people suffer from more ill health than younger people. Most importantly they often suffer from more than one illness at any one time i.e. suffer from multimorbidity. It does not seem to be in either patients' or doctors' best interests to treat each illness separately when there might be benefits in patients' health outcomes, quality of life, doctor and patient satisfaction and economic savings by taking a more integrative approach.
The integrative approach we adopted in this study combined perspectives from both conventional NHS treatment and complementary therapies. We believe that mental health problems and musculoskeletal disorders are the two areas where this approach is most likely to deliver health gains in the future. To plan for a clinical trial that would test this hypothesis, we searched the literature, surveyed the public, talked to GPs and CAM practitioners and undertook case studies of successful integrative medicine services.The outputs include a series of four publications (see right) and a protocol for a trial. The study was based in Bristol but gathered data across England. The researchers are senior academics from primary care, public health and complementary medicine, with a strong track record in this area and who have worked together before.
Lead applicant: Debbie Sharp.
Host organisation: University of Bristol
Co-applicants: Gene Feder, Sian Griffiths, Sandra Hollinghurst, Paul Little, Hugh MacPherson and Stewart Mercer
Funding: Department of Health Policy Research Programme, £140,559
Lorenc A, Feder G, MacPherson H, Little P, Mercer SW, Sharp D. Scoping review of systematic reviews of complementary medicine for musculoskeletal and mental health conditions. BMJ Open. 2018 Oct 1;8(10):e020222.
Sharp D, Lorenc A, Feder G, Little P, Hollinghurst S, Mercer S, et al. ‘Trying to put a square peg into a round hole’: a qualitative study of healthcare professionals’ views of integrating complementary medicine into primary care for musculoskeletal and mental health comorbidity. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018;18. [Link]
Sharp D, Lorenc A, Morris R, Feder G, Little P, Hollinghurst S, et al. Complementary medicine use, views, and experiences: a national survey in England. BJGP Open. 2018 Nov 13;bjgpopen18X101614.
Sharp D, Lorenc A, Little P, Mercer SW, Hollinghurst S, Feder G, et al. Complementary medicine and the NHS: Experiences of integration with UK primary care. Eur J Integr Med. 2018 Dec 1;24:8–16.
- Journal articles
- Edited books
- Acupuncture for chronic pain (ATC)
- Acupuncture & Counselling for Depression Project (ACUDep)
- Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (AcIBS)
- Acupuncture for Osteoarthritis of the Knee (OAK)
- Acupuncture & Alexander Technique for Chronic Neck Pain
- Mapping the practice of acupuncture in the UK
- Scoping Study on Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Mechanisms in the management of back pain
- Acupuncture for Back Pain Project (YacBac)
- Acupuncture for Non-cardiac Chest Pain
- Acupuncture Safety Projects
- Chinese Herbs Safety Project
- Neuroimaging of Acupuncture Projects
- Media and press