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Table 2 Key facts about acupuncture in the UK

From: Patients as healthcare consumers in the public and private sectors: a qualitative study of acupuncture in the UK

Practitioners
• Acupuncture can be delivered by acupuncturists as well as other practitioners who also offer acupuncture.
• Major professional societies for acupuncturists include the British Acupuncture Council http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/, the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists http://www.aacp.org.uk, the British Medical Acupuncture Society http://www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk/.
Regulation
• Acupuncturists are not currently subject to statutory regulation in the UK.
• Many UK acupuncturists are subject to statutory regulation in relation to their other professional identities (e.g. physiotherapist, biomedical doctor).
Education and Training
• Education and training in acupuncture is varied. Different styles (schools) of acupuncture are available in the UK. These include Western medical acupuncture [48] and Traditional Chinese acupuncture.
• Private sector colleges provide degree courses in acupuncture. For example, the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine offers a 3 year course leading to a BSc (Hons) in Acupuncture http://www.acupuncturecollege.org.uk
• Short training courses are available for some groups. For example, the British Medical Acupuncture Society provides a 4-5 day foundation course that confers a Certificate of Basic Competence for healthcare professionals who are regulated by statute in the UK.
Access
• Access to acupuncture in the private sector is typically via self-referral
• Access to acupuncture in the NHS is typically via referral from a GP. Referrals might be either specifically for acupuncture (e.g. to an acupuncturist working in primary care) or more generally for secondary care (e.g. to a pain clinic or physiotherapy service in which acupuncture might then be delivered).