GPs urged to commission acupuncture to ease back pain

GPs should develop acupuncture schemes through practice-based commissioning (PBC) to help implement NICE back pain recommendations, the British Acupuncture Council has said.


NICE guidance issued in June recommended a course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture should be offered as a treatment option to patients with low back pain.

Mike O'Farrell, chief executive of the British Acupuncture Council, said he was keen for individual GP practices to take a lead in developing referral schemes.

‘Practice-based commissioning would be the way we would love it to go,' he said.

Mr O'Farrell said that he would like to see PCTs commissioning services directly, but that attempts to set up services were more likely to be successful if they were led by practices.

‘PCTs are simply not able to go down to the level of detail that is necessary to see what the potential savings are at a practice level,' he said. ‘This is not a criticism; it is just a fact.'

Mr O'Farrell believes GPs are more likely to be able to assess potential savings and put together a business case for funding through PBC. ‘We will be willing to talk to as many GPs as we have to about the potential benefits to them,' he said.

  • Read the full version of this story in this week's GP dated 21 August
  • Should acupuncture be commissioned more?

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