HL Deb 11 January 2000 vol 608 c106WA
Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What evidence they have of the effect of primary care groups on the provision of complementary medicine within the National Health Service; and if they do not have this information, whether they will commission a study to discover it. [HL478]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Primary care groups may include complementary medicine within the range of services they provide if they consider that this is appropriate to the needs of their patients and in line with the locally agreed health improvement programme.

As part of a larger exercise to monitor the work of primary care groups, a survey by Manchester University has asked them to indicate their intentions for commissioning complementary therapies. A report on this survey should be published in spring, and will inform a new research project by Sheffield University which will compare actual provision of complementary medicine by primary care groups in the coming year with its provision five years earlier.

In the meantime, officials at the Department of Health have conducted a separate informal survey of the attitude of primary care groups towards the provision of complementary medicine. If the results are typical, early indications are that at least half of all primary care groups provide some form of complementary medicine. The results are still being analysed, and will need to be compared with the result of the Manchester survey. In due course we will consider what lessons the results provide and how best to disseminate them to National Health Service service commissioners.