Awareness and practice of complementary therapies in hospital and community settings within Essex in the United Kingdom

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2005 May;11(2):130-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ctnm.2004.08.005.


Enhanced public interest calls for integration of Complementary treatments within allopathic medicine. The Foundation of Integrated Medicine issued guidelines for the use of complementary therapies in June 2003. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) backed the use of Alternative Therapies in a paper in November 2003. The nursing and midwifery council (NMC) issued a position statement (December 2000) advocating all nurses and midwives using complementary or alternative therapies must ensure that they are individually competent to practice. For the service user, the NMC stipulated that these therapies needed to be safe and used as part of the therapeutic process. This included the recipient consenting to treatment. This has enabled nurses to expand their practice to integrate Complementary treatments into nursing care within the National Health Service. High-quality care is focused on client's individualized needs, based on current government initiatives (Making a Difference, 2000; Government response to the House of Lords select committee's report on complementary and alternative medicine, CM5124, The Stationary Office, London) (NHS Choice Agenda 2004). Following the Patient's charter (DoH, 1991) and the more recent NHS Plan (2001), service users are no longer intimidated by the authority-based structure and speak out against various decisions and the right to take part in decision-making. This study investigated the awareness of complementary therapies by healthcare professionals currently employed by a local healthcare Trust. Data were also gathered on qualifications in complementary therapy and hospital and community sites of practice. We found a mismatch between the referrals staff recommended to clients and the treatment available within the practice areas. On the basis of our findings, we developed a new policy [Richardson J, Brennan AM. Complementary therapies in the N.H.S. service development in a local district general hospital. Complement Ther Nursing Midwifery 1995;1:89-92] for the provision of complementary therapies within the local health service.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Awareness
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Complementary Therapies / education
  • Complementary Therapies / nursing
  • Complementary Therapies / organization & administration*
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • England
  • Forecasting
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Planning / organization & administration
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff* / education
  • Nursing Staff* / psychology*
  • Organizational Policy
  • Patient Participation / psychology
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data
  • Policy Making
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Safety
  • State Medicine / organization & administration
  • Surveys and Questionnaires