Chiropractors and GPs working together

The GPs from Wessex Deanery are on campus today to learn about what chiropractic is and how it can be useful for their patients. We've been running the scheme for several years now which always proves beneficial.

Programme Director Dr Stephen Tomkins commented on previous years: “As a program director with Wessex Deanery, I am part of the team teaching doctors in their final year of General Practice speciality training. After the successful completion of this course the doctors become the next generation of General Practitioners, who are now the corner stone of the NHS and the lead commissioners of future NHS services.

A few years ago I realised that chiropractic treatment was becoming widely accepted as an option in the management of many conditions and part of the gold standard treatment of lower back pain as endorsed by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).

The doctors I teach have all spent a minimum of five years at medical school and five years as a postgraduate doctor on further training schemes – during this time most have not had one minute of education on what chiropractors do, how are they trained, how they treat patients, and how they fit into the wider healthcare professional team. This was something that needed to be addressed.

Over the last few years I have been bringing a few doctors to a session run by Dr Neil Osborne run at the AECC, to try and rectify this knowledge gap in their training." 

Doctors attend AECC for an afternoon of education, and group work with some of the final year AECC students. They are able to experience a vast amount of high quality learning – including viewing the exercise centre and being shown various pieces of equipment and how they would be of therapeutic benefit, they learn additional examination skills, and have a demonstration of a manipulation.

Dr Tompkins continued: "The most impressive part of the day was working in small groups with the final year AECC students – it showed the great knowledge base they had, and shocked a lot of the doctors by the massive overlap in our understanding of disease and therapeutic interventions. Lots of the doctors fed back that they were impressed with the additional skills the chiropractors possessed that do not appear anywhere else in the NHS, and felt very strongly that chiropractic treatment, as demonstrated by the AECC should become a standard part of the armoury available for referral by all primary care clinicians.

The doctors I have brought today will certainly now be far more prepared to encourage patients in the direction of chiropractic treatment and embrace the idea of closer working between the two professions. A great learning experience and I hope we get invited to return again next year.”