What are the long-term impacts of a 12 month pilot acupuncture clinic in primary care? An evaluation of patient health outcomes and an examination of patient reflections.

By Charlotte Green

Abstract

Background:

In 2009 and 2010 a service evaluation of a 12-month acupuncture pilot study in primary care was carried out in Greater Manchester (Moffatt, 2011). Patients, referred by their GP, received up to 10 traditional acupuncture treatments. The intervention had a positive impact on health outcomes, and on average, this was sustained for 3 months post-treatment (Moffatt, 2011). The current study was designed to revisit patients approximately 2 years post-treatment, to assess their long-term progress.

Aims:

To:

  • evaluate the long-term impact on patient health outcomes of the pilot acupuncture clinic
  • examine patient reflections to gain a deeper understanding of long-term treatment effects.

Methodology:

Patients from the original project were contacted by letter and invited to take part in this new study. Those who consented were contacted by telephone to complete the MYMOP2 follow-up questionnaire and an additional semi-structured questionnaire. The majority of the data collected was quantitative. Some qualitative data was gathered to gain a deeper understanding of the numerical results.

Key Findings & Implications:

The acupuncture intervention has had a positive impact on patient health outcomes, and these improvements are still significant at long-term follow-up. However participants have significantly deteriorated since the intervention ended. Many of the participants have chronic health problems. The deterioration since treatment ended may in part be due to these underlying health issues. A number of areas of further research have been identified.

Results:

Overall, 21/50 patients from the original project took part in this study. For the majority of MYMOP2 parameters, the mean average scores for all participants have significantly improved, between the first treatment and long-term follow-up. However since the intervention ended participants have significantly deteriorated with respect to most MYMOP2 parameters. Most participants followed some lifestyle advice and found it helpful. Patients also experienced wider treatment benefits.