OBJECTIVE: To investigate chiropractors past and current provision of musculoskeletal services for NHS patients and optimal future arrangements.
METHODS: One thousand forty-two UK chiropractors on professional registers were sent a 2-part questionnaire. The profession was divided into 2 groups and each group answered part of the questionnaire from either a practitioner or patient perspective.
RESULTS: Sixty-nine percent responded. Of these, 29% had previously provided services for NHS patients, and 18% were currently providing them, reporting moderate to high levels of satisfaction. Ninety-five percent were interested in future arrangements but on a part-time basis and in a way that most closely resembled private practice.
CONCLUSION: The majority of UK chiropractors favor future partnership with the NHS. National health care reform and the statutory self-regulation of chiropractors have brought this closer to a more widespread reality. However, to prosper in this setting, the profession may benefit from a greater understanding of the competing priorities and constraints faced by NHS purchasers, who, for their part, should be prepared to implement policy based on evidence.
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