Visionary health care

They are few and far between, and many of them are in the west country but some GP practices have adopted a progressive approach to healthcare offering natural therapies to patients. In most cases the patients have to pay a small fee.

It is also possible to be referred to one of the  homeopathic or integrated medicine hospitals, if your PCT (Primary Care Trust) is willing to pay, and your GP agrees.
There are projects running all over the country in GPs’ practices, clinics and hospital departments offering complementary therapies alongside conventional treatment. A number of midwives have learnt how to give acupuncture, reflexology and massage during labour and addiction clinics are using a range of therapies.

The College Surgery, Cullompton, Devon

Patients have the benefit of referral to any of the 20 complementary therapists in addition to normal general practice.  They pay a small amount to have healing, massage, acupuncture, herbal medicine, or homeopathy.  Dr Michael Dixon at the College Surgery favours ‘a GP practice that offers a wider choice of safe and effective therapies, while ensuring that patients do not turn their back on proven conventional medicine’.


The Fountain Centre, The Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford

 Cancer patients can have aromatherapy, shiatsu, homeopathy, herbal medicine, cranial sacral therapy, art therapy, massage, reflexology, yoga, relaxation and visualisation sessional practices at the Fountain Centre on site.  Many hospitals around the country have a similar facility.

The Gateway Clinic, Lewisham, South London

The Gateway Clinic is the only Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic in the NHS offering acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Qi Gong classes and dietary and lifestyle advice. Traditional Chinese Medicine can offer relief from depression, stress and anxiety. The clinic also provides a service for mental health treatment. Professional  Phone: 0207 411 6151  Email:

Homeopathic/integrated hospitals
The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine is  a centre for complementary and alternative medicine providing NHS treatment with homeopathy, herbal medicine, reflexology, acupuncture, nutrition, shiatsu massage and aromatherapy. The cancer clinic is reputed for its palliative care and for providing iscador or mistletoe injections to cancer patients. The Royal London  is renowned for its muscular-skeletal clinic where acupuncture, injection techniques, dry needling, electro-acupuncture, and manipulation are all available.

Difficult foot conditions, such as athlete’s foot, corns, veruccae, fungal infections, gout and bunions are treated in the Podiatry Clinic by Dr Tariq Khan with preparations of marigold. Dr Khan’s father spent 30 years researching the 57 species of marigold, and has had particular success with reducing bunions using a poultice of marigold.

Based in central London the Royal London  Hospital for Integrated Medicine comes under the University College London Hospitals NHS Trust but takes referrals from all over the country.

Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital

Glastonbury Health Centre

An enlightened approach to healthcare is being practised at a GPs’ practice in Glastonbury, where patients have access to homeopathy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, osteopathy and massage therapy.
Explains Dr Roy Welford, who set up the project, ‘Conventional treatment may not have all the answers, so we are able to offer patients a choice. People do respond well to complementary therapies and by referring them to practitioners we are effectively bypassing waiting lists, because less of them need to go on to see consultants.

‘We are able to offer patients choice and a range of safe therapies without side-effects and which benefit patients considerably. We reduce prescription costs because less medication is needed, and patients on low incomes have benefited as well.’

Currently patients make a small contribution towards treatments at Glastonbury, but a new pilot project is providing both acupuncture and osteopathy on the NHS.

Glastonbury is a very alternative town but Dr Welford emphasises, ‘While many of the patients are very knowledgeable about complementary therapies, we also cover an area where many of the people are very conventional. Complementary therapies are becoming more accepted and mainstream now.’

Chronic Pain Service, Burnley General Hospital

Pain can make life a misery for those who have to endure it, and 50 to 60 per cent of the people who visit the Chronic Pain Service in Burnley have back pain. People referred to the service have their pain management programme devised for them, and they are given advice on diet, sleep and exercise.

Dr Magdy Aglan, consultant pain physician, explains, ‘We have a holistic approach to patients’ health and don’t just focus on the back or wherever the problem lies.’ After the initial diagnosis, patients may be offered conventional treatment such as medication or referred within the clinic to one of the therapists for psychological assessment, acupuncture, aromatherapy massage, osteopathy, reflexology or the TENS electrotherapy machine.

‘Most of the therapies have a relaxing and acupuncture can reduce pain with minimal side-effects. People used to stay with us for the rest of their lives, but now they are discharged after three to four months. The aim is to make their pain bearable so that they can get on with their lives.’


Marylebone Health Centre, London NW1 5LT

The practice also offers complementary therapies such as osteopathy, massage therapy, homeopathy, acupuncture and naturopathy through GP referral. Please ask the practice for more information, also about in practice counselling service.


Call the British Acupuncture Council for details of members: 020 8735 0400 or