The contribution of Complementary and Alternative Medicine to Europe

europe4The contribution of Complementary and Alternative Medicine to sustainable healthcare in Europe

This booklet, provided by eurocam, an association of European cam organisations including patients, doctors and practitioners, provides information about Complementary and Alternative Medicine (cam) scoping its current practice and availability as well as its potential future role across the European Union (eu).

In addition, it highlights a number of priority policy action areas to enable cam to fulfil its significant potential to contribute to the healthcare of citizens throughout the eu.

It is a remarkable fact that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is now used by one out of two EU citizens. Throughout the European Union people are evidently seeking more natural and gentle methods of healing and increasingly favouring the provision of CAM within existing healthcare systems.

In the European Union CAM is practised by approximately 145,000 doctors dually trained in conventional medicine and a particular CAM modality and around 160,000 trained CAM practitioners (with or without statutory regulation) practising various CAM modalities. This means that there are about 65 CAM providers (30 dual-trained doctors and 35 CAM practitioners) per 100,000 inhabitants compared to the some 475,000 general practitioners (GPs) working in the EU which equates to about 95 GPs per 100,000 EU citizens.

These figures demonstrate that there is a vast, largely untapped, reserve of CAM healthcare provision available across the EU. This is a resource that citizens wish to see fully developed and utilised.

Although many Europeans use CAM, there is a huge diversity in its regulation across the EU determining who can practise CAM, what qualifications are required and how services are offered and financed. This patchy provision means that citizens experience practical and attitudinal barriers that limit their access to and use of CAM.

To redress these inequalities, it is evident that a pan-European process to instigate an appropriate regulation of providers of CAM throughout the EU should be initiated as soon as possible. This process should take into account the full extent of the scope of CAM modalities across the healthcare spectrum from general health maintenance and education to CAM treatments of specific illnesses. This process should run in parallel with practical measures taken to integrate CAM modalities into the healthcare systems of each and every Member State, a requirement recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)

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