The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published the Guideline on Low Back Pain and Sciatica that had been produced in draft form in April 2016 as NICE guideline [NG59].
We note with concern the final recommendations published today.
The exclusion of acupuncture from its place in the 2009 guideline we believe to be both a mistake and a retrogressive step.
The British Acupuncture Council wishes to make three clear statements regarding this decision.
We are pleased to announce that Paul Hitchcock will be our new chief executive, joining us in July. As well as his current NHS role Paul brings valuable experience from his time as director of the Allied Health Professions Federation (AHPF), which looks after professional healthcare bodies similar to the BAcC. We hope you will join us in welcoming Paul to the BAcC at this time of great change and opportunity.
The BAcC continues to receive calls and emails about the NHBTS policy that any patient who has had acupuncture treatment delivered by a practitioner who is not statutorily regulated has to wait four months before they can donate blood. This change to the NHSBT's donor criteria came into effect in late 2009,and with the statutory regulation of acupuncturists now unlikely in the foreseeable future, this could mean that someone having regular treatment with a BAcC member would never qualify to donate blood.
The BAcC has exemplary safety standards and campaigned vigorously to challenge this decision. We have since done our best to make sure that all of our members let their patients know that they must wait four months to donate blood or bone marrow products.
The official notification and rationale for the decision is available on http://www.transfusionguidelines.org/document-library/documents/change-notification-no-32-2009/download-file/dl_change_note_2009_32.pdf and http://www.transfusionguidelines.org/document-library/documents/change-notification-no-33-2009/download-file/dl_change_note_2009_33.pdf but some enquirers have found this difficult to locate on official sites.
The BAcC is fully committed to reversing this decision for the benefit of the patients of its members. The recent accreditation of the BAcC under the Professional Standards Authority Assured Voluntary Register scheme has given us hope that this new flagship scheme will provide the recognition of exemplary standards the BAcC needs for its members to be granted exemption from the deferral period for donation.
The British Acupuncture Council responds to a recent article in a national newspaper: “There are very few side effects from acupuncture when practised by a fully qualified practitioner of traditional acupuncture. Two surveys conducted independently of each other and published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 concluded that the risk of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. This is far less than many orthodox medical treatments. To further reduce the risk of any potential side effects, patients should look out for a registered practitioner from the British Acupuncture Council. The BAcC stamp of approval means that the practitioner is an accredited acupuncturist providing the highest standard of professional care to patients, with degree level training and strict codes of safe practice, which are in place to protect the patient from these sorts of incidents.”
The College of Medicine’s one-day conference – Acupuncture for Integrated Pain Management - took place at London South Bank University (LSBU) on Wednesday 4 July and attracted a variety of health professionals, including a high level delegation from the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. Chaired by Professor Nicky Robinson, the programme consisted of presentations designed to share knowledge and experience on the role of acupuncture in managing pain, particularly within the NHS.
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