Complementary Therapy
in General Practice

Presenting findings from the work of the

Glastonbury, Somerset, England

Glastonbury Health Centre offers a unique integrated complementary medicine service combining NHS General Practice with five mainstream complementary therapies.

Careful evaluation, presented on this website, has shown that such an approach may improve the health and wellbeing of their patients, many of whom are chronically ill.

The cost of the service may also be offset by savings made in medication costs and referrals.

Glastonbury Complementary Medicine Service was established in 1992-3 in a three-partner GP practice, of approx 4,500 patients.  The project is now supported by Somerset Trust for Integrated Health Care (Charity no. 1065943).  The aims of the Trust are to support the integration of effective complementary medicine in Primary Care.

This is achieved by:
    - subsidising access to complementary medicine,
    - researching the impact of integrated complementary medicine,
    - establishing links and disseminating information to other providers, and
    - lobbying the NHS to support integrated complementary medicine.

Why use Complementary therapy?
    - 1 in 5 of us in UK do so every year
    - It provides a significant level of health care (70,000 consultations/week - estimated 50,000 complementary practitioners in UK - there are 30,000 GPs)
    - A survey as long ago as 1986 showed that 72% of GPs had referred patients to a complementary practitioner in the previous year (1986). Nowadays even more GPs are recommending complementary theraapies to their patients.

Why implement in Primary Care?
    - 30% of complementary medicine treatments are primary interventions - ie. the first port-of-call for the patient.
    - Primary care and complementary medicine both manage chronic illness.
    - Good primary care is 'holistic' and communication between conventional and complementary practitioners is important.