Great Britain: Long-term collaboration between CAM and conventional medicine in the UK

WHO published the extensive document Legal Status of Traditional and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review (242) in 2001. The document provides information on the legal status of TM/CAM in different countries. The study included 123 of the 191 member states. It was not possible to obtain reliable information about the remaining countries, including the Czech Republic, and these countries were, therefore, not be included in the survey. Within Europe, Great Britain is considered to be very progressive in terms of its attitude to CAM:

“Successive governments have ensured that as long as patients require complementary/alternative treatment, access to it will be guaranteed. As a result, the United Kingdom is the only country in the European Union with public-sector hospitals for complementary/alternative medicine. Indeed, there are National Health Service homeopathic hospitals in London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol, and Tunbridge Wells (243). At Saint Mary's Hospital, where relaxation, dietetic, yoga, and meditation therapies are available, allopathic physicians work closely with non-physicians. Homeopathy provided by allopathic physicians is included in the National Health Service (244).

Complementary/alternative medications, homeopathic products, and other natural remedies are becoming increasingly popular and are now widely available in health food stores and pharmacies (245).

In response to the increased use of complementary/alternative medicine by the public and the Government's concern over its effectiveness, the British Research Council on Complementary Medicines was formed in 1982. Among other things, it noticed the major role of complementary/alternative medicine in reducing the costs of the health care system (244).

In general, in order to become a member of a professional organization, nonallopathic practitioners must be covered by insurance and adhere to the Code of Professional Ethics (244).


During the past 20 years, interest in complementary/alternative medicine has increased3. Seventy per cent of the public is in favour of complementary/alternative medicine becoming widely available in the National Health Service – particularly osteopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and homeopathy.”