Information for the public

Though the availability of complementary therapy via the NHS is now beginning to make headlines in the newspapers, it does not necessarily mean that all doctorsare willing to prescribe complementary medicine, at the end of the day the decision to prescribe is still a matter for clinical judgementof your GP, and even if they are willing, not all Commisioning Groupspresently have funding provisions dedicated to complementary medicine. In some cases, this is simply a question of lack of resources and, in other cases, it is a question of an unwillingness on the part of the Primary Care Trustto provide complementary therapy.

Any member of the public who is encountering difficulties in obtaining complementary therapy via the NHS and who would like to bring this problem to the notice of their Care Trust, should write to the Patient Advice and Liaison Co-ordinator (PAL)at the Commissioning Group.

The role of PALis a new one. The PALshave been created to act as an interface between the public and the boards of the Commissioning Groupsresponsible for healthcare in their area. If enough members of the public write on the subject, this will help the Boards of the commissionersbecome more aware of the true level of demand and may lead to funding being made available where hitherto it was not.

It would also be appropriate for members of the public to write to the lay member of their local Commissioning Group. The lay member is an ordinary member of the public, whose purpose is to represent the local population.

Information on your local Commissioning Groupis available via your GP. Many Trusts also have websites.