Get Well UK patients are asked for feedback. They are asked what the best thing is about receiving complementary medicine, what improvements they would suggest, and whether they have made any changes in their lives which have had an impact on their health.
More than 75% of the Haringey patients reported they were less worried about their condition after receiving treatment, and all the Islington patients said treatment helped. Impact mainly fell into the three categories below (the quotes are chosen from among the Haringey patients’ responses):
A majority of patients were keen to reduce their dependence on doctor-prescribed painkillers. Get Well UK did not measure the impact of treatment on rates of GP prescription. However, feedback from patients indicates some decrease in the amount of painkillers actually taken.
‘I did not have to take my pain medication [for lumbago and sciatica] because the acupuncture has completely controlled it.’
Most patients (72% in Haringey and 80% in Islington) were referred for pain caused by musculoskeletal conditions. There were several reports of increased mobility and ability to go about daily life. ‘Unexpected degree of pain relief’. ‘Mobility up 60%’. This is particularly pertinent as 20-30% of the UK adult population suffers from musculoskeletal conditions, with preponderance among manual workers and lower socio-economic groups.
‘It opened my eyes to new techniques of self-care, and ways to be more proactive in looking after my health.’ ‘It was effective since Monika was very knowledgeable about muscle groups and how the body works. She pinpointed the problem and gave me exercises to prevent it happening again.’
A 90% attendance rate seems to indicate general satisfaction with the service. When asked what they would improve, most patient requests focused on more information about local services & self-help techniques, and longer treatments.
One of Get Well UK’s aims is to make complementary medicine available to patients who could not afford it privately. The Haringey initial audit showed that a majority of patients were from an ethnic minority background (77%), with 15% requiring interpreting services. 50% were receiving benefits, 39% were council tenants, and 5% were in temporary accommodation. 35.5% had previously experienced complementary medicine. 41% had had their condition for more than 5 years, and 69% for at least a year.