"Upset at withdrawal of acupuncture service"

About: Gilbert Bain Hospital / Pain management

(as the patient),

I had been receiving acupuncture for the last 4 to 5 years and it has helped me greatly to stay mobile which really did surprise me as i had absolutely no faith in it what so ever that is until i tried it. I am 73 years old and have worked all my life and paid contributions. Then the lady who did the acupuncture retired and they have not replaced her and i believe she had over 200 clients! I am now having to pay £40 a time to get acupuncture privately, and i even contacted my local MP who did in turn write to the NHS about this but again to no avail. How can this service just be withdrawn and not replaced when it was benefiting so many people.

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Response from Carolyn Hand, Corporate Services Manager/Complaints Officer, Chief Executive's Department, NHS Shetland

Thank you for your feedback about the acupuncture service. I can confirm that we recently wrote to all patients accessing the acupuncture clinic to say that we will continue to offer acupuncture treatments for some specific conditions where evidence supports this, as part of the Chronic Pain Service. All patients who were accessing the acupuncture clinic ran by the Nurse will be invited to attend a multi-disciplinary chronic pain assessment clinic and individual letters have been sent out to ask people if they wish to attend the new clinic.

At this clinic, a Physiotherapist will undertake a new assessment and put in place a treatment plan which is appropriate to the patient’s condition and symptoms. The treatment options may include relaxation, exercises, TENS and acupuncture.

There are a number of Physiotherapists who have specific skills in chronic pain management and so we feel that this service will be more sustainable and able to offer a wider range of therapies that were not previously available. In addition to this, Clinical Pharmacists will also be joining the Chronic Pain team and will provide advice to GPs, hospital doctors and Physiotherapists concerning chronic pain medications.

We are working with the Chronic Pain Service Consultants to make sure that we prioritise patients appropriately and we have indicated to patients that we will be in touch in the next ten weeks. A number of patients have already contacted me to accept appointments.

If you need any further information about this service then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes

Kathleen Carolan, Director of Nursing, Midwifery & AHPs


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