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January 2022

Complementary medicine in the United Kingdom: patients, practitioners, and consultations

Author(s): Munro, R.

Journal/Book: Lancet. 1985; 2: 542-545.

Abstract: Practitioners of complementary medicine took part in a questionnaire-based survey in 1980-81. Compliance was almost 100% in Oxfordshire and the Cambridge area but much less in five other areas of the UK. There were about 12 practitioners per 100 000 population, including all therapeutic specialities. Half the practitioners had had formal education; less than half were in full-time practice. They charged an average of10 for the first visit and 8 for subsequent visits, which took 51 and 36 min, respectively. Annual consultation rates were 19 • 5-25 • 7 per 100 population (11 - 7-15 - 4 million consultations); there were about 2 million consultations each for acupuncture, osteopathy, and chiropractic. The average course of treatments was 9 - 7. Two-thirds of the patients were female, and most were young or middle-aged and of the higher social classes. Although the data indicate a growing and substantial subsidiary health-care system in the UK, there is evidence that it complements rather than competes with conventional medicine.


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