Methods: A sequential study of exploratory design was used; this model is characterised by an initial phase of qualitative data collection and analysis that precedes and informs the quantitative phase of data collection and analysis. In this study, interviews with members of chiropractic teaching faculty were used to inform the development of a questionnaire used to survey the opinions of chiropractors in the UK.
Results: There was a general consensus of opinion that chiropractors are primary contact practitioners, who work in a primary healthcare setting and that to be able to fulfil this healthcare role, chiropractors must be able to diagnose patients and refer when required. Participants did not feel that chiropractors are able to treat all of the most common medical conditions that present in a primary healthcare setting.
Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that chiropractors in the UK view their role as one of a primary contact healthcare practitioner and that this view is held irrespective of the country in which they were educated or the length of time in practice. Further research needs to be developed to evaluate the findings of the current study within a wider healthcare context. In particular the opinions of other healthcare professionals towards the role of chiropractors in healthcare, need to be examined in more detail.
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