The Health Minister in Northern Ireland decided on a soft launch for
the results of the complementary medicine pilot project and has made the independent evaluation report available to download on the Department’s website. As well as an extensive report with detailed responses from patients, GPs and practitioners, using a validated audit tool, focus groups and surveys, the report has made
recommendations about the way forward.
Following the pilot, 80% of patients reported an improvement in their symptoms, 64% took less time off work and 55% reduced their use of painkillers.
In the pilot, 713 patients with a range of ages and demographic
backgrounds and either physical or mental health conditions were
referred to various complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
therapies via nine GP practices in Belfast and Londonderry.
• 81% of patients reported an improvement in their physical health
• 79% reported an improvement in their mental health
• 84% of patients linked an improvement in their health and
wellbeing directly to their CAM treatment
• In 65% of patient cases, GPs documented a health improvement,
correlating closely to patient-reported improvements
• 94% of patients said they would recommend CAM to another patient
with their condition
• 87% of patient indicated a desire to continue with their CAM
Painkillers and medication
• Half of GPs reported prescribing less medication and all reported
that patients had indicated to them that they needed less
• 62% of patients reported suffering from less pain
• 55% reported using less painkillers following treatment
• Patients using medication reduced from 75% before treatment to