Letters

Safety of acupuncture

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7330.170a (Published 19 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:170

Studies of safety must look at communication and organisational issues

  1. Tim Wilson, director, St Paul Royal College of General Practitioners Quality Unit (twilson@rcgp.org.uk)
  1. Mill Stream Surgery, Benson, Wallingford OX10 6LA
  2. Tsukuba College of Technology Clinic, Tsukuba 305-0821, Japan

    EDITOR—In his editorial Vincent pointed out that the two studies on the safety of acupuncture are reassuring.13 He also pointed out that considering safety alone is unhelpful and a risk : benefit ratio should be derived. However, harm does not come only from adverse events. Another area of concern with complementary practitioners is the lack of communication with conventional carers, and in particular primary care.

    If one core element of primary care is coordination of care then poor communication between complementary practitioners and primary care can only serve the patient poorly. Indeed, harm may occur.4 Without full knowledge of the patient, his or her condition, and drugs taken, inadvisable treatments might be advocated. There therefore needs to be a clear link between complementary practitioners and the patient's primary care provider.

    To create a linkage …

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