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Complementary therapies initiative welcomed

5 October, 2006

Sinn Féin health spokesperson John O'Dowd MLA has welcomed the announcement by direct-rule minister Paul Goggins that funding is being released which will, for the first time, allow GP's to refer patients directly to complementary therapists.

Mr O'Dowd said, "It is important that patients are given the widest choice of safe, effective, healthcare possible both in the traditional and regulated complementary health care sectors.

"Many people frequently refer to the importance of primary care, usually referring to the GPs as the ''gate-keepers''. However, it could be said that the essence of primary care starts with the patient or person themselves being pro-active and dealing with health promotion. This fits with the central tenets of complementary therapies. They are person-centred and they have a holistic approach to managing health and promoting well-being.

Mr O'Dowd added,"There's a growing body of research from around the world, investigating the effects, mechanisms and success rates of complementary treatments, which have reported significant decreases in symptoms, as well as high levels of satisfaction among users. While quite a number of therapies have been clearly shown to work, others remain questionable. More funding and research is also needed to establish the safety of certain treatments, to determine the best uses and applications for different therapies, and to identify any that may be therapeutically useless or even harmful." ENDS

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