Revision of NICE Guidelines concerning Complementary Therapy Services

We have been passed information to advise that the revision of NICE Guidelines for Improving Supportive and Palliative Care in Adults is underway and the scoping process has recommended that Complementary Therapy Services (CT) are removed from the guidelines. The rationale and implications for removing CT do not appear to have been given.

The Board of Trustees would like to assure members that we have sent a protest in the strongest terms possible against removing CT from the guideline. We have added our protest to the comment form sent to NICE by our insurers, Balens, a registered stakeholder, who have been most helpful and supportive.

CT is given by hundreds of volunteers and some paid staff, who are practitioners of a number of different therapy practices, including reflexology, aromatherapy or massage, acupuncture, healing and Reiki, Tai Chi and others. There is an emerging, though as yet small, body of evidence regarding how these practices support patients, their carer’s and bereaved families cope with the myriad stresses and strains an illness, such as cancer or motor neurone disease, place on them. Many of our members volunteer in their local NHS providers including hospitals and hospices, with patients and families finding it supportive.

If NICE withdraws its support for CT, this may have implications for future funding of CT in establishments that receive NHS funding for palliative care, and may also result in CT being removed from other NICE guidelines.

We will let you know any further news.