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listen to patient experiences from the pilot project, October 2007

read information about Get Well NI -- the BBC's documentary about the project

northern ireland

Paul Goggins MP, the Health Minister for Northern Ireland spent his second day in post at an event for complementary therapists hosted by Prince Charles and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain MP. It was agreed to take integrated medicine forward in the Province. Paul Goggins subsequently announced a fund to pilot complementary therapies for NHS patients, and a commitment to making these therapies available to everyone in Northern Ireland if the pilot proved to be successful. Success, in this case, meant improvements in health and reductions in NHS costs.

A steering group was established which organised a conference on 5th October 2006. Speakers from different disciplines outlined to a packed audience of health professionals, the training, standards and evidence of some complementary therapies. The aim of the project was to pilot services integrating complementary medicine into existing primary care services in Northern Ireland. Get Well UK provided this pilot project for the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) during 2007.

The objectives were:

  • To measure the health outcomes of the service and monitor health improvements.
  • To redress inequalities in access to complementary medicine by providing therapies through the NHS, allowing access regardless of income.
  • To contribute to best practise in the field of delivering complementary therapies through primary care.
  • To provide work for suitably skilled and qualified practitioners.
  • To increase patient satisfaction with quick access to expert care.
  • To help patients learn skills to improve and retain their health.
  • To free up GP time to work with other patients.
  • To deliver the programme for 700 patients.

In Northern Ireland, Get Well UK was answerable to a Steering Committee made up of representatives from the available therapies (acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic, homeopathy, massage and osteopathy) and from the Health Boards of Northern Ireland. The service was independently audited and evaluated, as arranged by the DHSSPS.

more information