Characteristics of Victorian general practitioners who practise complementary therapies

Characteristics of Victorian general practitioners who practise complementary therapies

Pirotta, M. Farish, S. Kotsirilos, V. Cohen M. Characteristics of Victorian general practitioners who practise complementary therapies. Australian Family Physician 31 (12) 1133-1138, 2002

Abstract

 

BACKGROUND:
To compare the characteristics of Victorian general practitioners who practise and do not practise complementary therapies.
METHOD:
A self administered postal survey sent to 800 Victorian GPs.
RESULTS:
The response rate was 64%. There were no statistically significant differences between complementary therapy practitioners and nonpractitioners in the number of patients seen per week, urban versus rural location, solo versus group practice or Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. In some complementary therapies, practising GPs tended to be male, full time and older.
DISCUSSION:
Victorian GPs who practise complementary therapies are on the whole not from the fringes of the medical community. The reasons why GPs include complementary therapies in their practice cannot be answered by this study.
Comment in
The practise of complementary therapies. [Aust Fam Physician. 2003]
Complementary therapies in general practice. [Aust Fam Physician. 2003]

The integration of complementary therapies in Australian general practice: results of a national survey.

The integration of complementary therapies in Australian general practice: results of a national survey.

Cohen, M. Penman, S., Pirotta, M., Da Costa, C. The Integration of Complementary Therapies in Australian General Practice: Results of a National Survey. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2005 11(6), 995-1004 

Abstract

 

METHODS:
Australian general practitioners’ (GPs) attitudes toward and use of a range of complementary therapies (CTs) were determined through a self-administered postal survey sent to a random sample of 2000 Australian GPs. The survey canvassed GPs’ opinions as to the harmfulness and effectiveness of CTs; current levels of training and interest in further training; personal use of, and use in practice of, CTs; referrals to CT; practitioners; appropriateness for GPs to practice and for government regulation; perceived patient demand and the need for undergraduate education.
RESULTS:
The response rate was 33.2%. Based on GPs’ responses, complementary therapies could be classified into: nonmedicinal and nonmanipulative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga, and hypnosis, that were seen to be highly effective and safe; medicinal and manipulative therapies, including chiropractic, Chinese herbal medicine, osteopathy, herbal medicine, vitamin and mineral therapy, naturopathy, and homeopathy, which more GPs considered potentially harmful than potentially effective; and esoteric therapies, such as spiritual healing, aromatherapy, and reflexology, which were seen to be relatively safe yet also relatively ineffective. The risks of CTs were seen to mainly arise from incorrect, inadequate, or delayed diagnoses and interactions between complementary medications and pharmaceuticals, rather than the specific risks of the therapies themselves.
CONCLUSIONS:
Nonmedicinal therapies along with chiropractic are widely accepted in Australia and can be considered mainstream. GPs are open to training in complementary therapies, and better communication between patients and GPs about use of CTs is required to minimize the risk of adverse events. There is also a need to prioritize and provide funding for further research into the potential adverse events from these therapies and other therapies currently lacking an evidence base.