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BCA chiropractors shine in effectiveness pilot scheme

Posted in Clinic News on Mar 30, 2011

An award-winning project involving BCA chiropractors has received high acclaim after reducing referrals to a hospital’s spinal orthopaedic department by over 30%.

Mark Gurden DC, PhD, a BCA chiropractor based in Essex, was part of a multidisciplinary team that developed a service to provide manual therapy as part of a dedicated neck and back pain pathway.  Also including osteopaths and physiotherapists, the pathway provided patients with a choice of specialist and delivered rapid access and local care using biopsychosocial model.  The scheme drew on the guidelines issued in the UK as part of the Musculoskeletal Services Framework (2006) and the low back pain guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published in 2009.

Under the scheme, patients received GP-led conservative care for the first four weeks.  Following this, if they were still suffering symptoms they were referred to the project and were seen within 14 days.  Patients then underwent an assessment and six treatments before being discharged back to the GP with reports and recommendations.  The effectiveness of the project was assessed by the use of both patient and GP satisfaction questionnaires as well as face-to-face interviews.

The results were impressive.  A total of 2810 patients were seen within the project, distributed between physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors.  The average waiting time for appointments was four days and 97% of patients were seen within two weeks of referral.  Only 6% of patients did not gain improvement, with 74% of patients describing themselves as improved or much-improved.  A total of 96% of patients rated their experience as excellent or very good, while referrals to the spinal surgeon at the local orthopaedic department dropped by 30%.

Commenting on the project, BCA President Richard Brown said:  “This demonstrates the opportunities that chiropractic has in providing cost and clinically effectively care in an integrated setting.  The evidence for effectiveness is there and chiropractors should be utilised as spinal health care specialists throughout the UK National Health Service.”

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