NHS Evidence Project

NHS Evidence Specialist Collection: Complementary & Alternative Medicine


The Research Council for Complementary Medicine, in partnership with the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine and School of Life Sciences (now part of the Faculty of Science & Technology) at the University of Westminster developed a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Specialist library for the NHS National Library for Health, the content of which has since been incorporated into NHS Evidence.

The project had the support of a wide range of stakeholders and senior academics who formed the wider External Reference Group and Editorial Board. NeLCAM (as it became knows) focused on complementary therapies and the evidence for their use and effectiveness in specific conditions. Links were provided to quality assured sources of information.

The National Library for Health (NLH) (NB. Since superseded by NHS Evidence)
The aim of the library was to support evidence based decision making by patients, clinicians, managers and commissioners through the organisation and mobilisation of best current knowledge. The service aimed to make a significant contribution to the continuous improvement of health and healthcare in the UK, not only by providing access to high quality information, but also by providing an opportunity for the users of information to become actively involved with its development and integration, in order to support local decision making. A primary aim was to create and sustain communities of users, through the development of Specialist Libraries.

Specialist Libraries were both a collection and a community of practice for all those interested in generating, organising, mobilising and utilising knowledge in their domain. The primary task of the Specialist Library was to organise special knowledge collections for their topic based on the core content of the NLH. They were led by health care professionals within the NHS, and utilised the expertise of experienced information scientists both as project staff and through a network of NHS library and information specialists, in order to ensure that knowledge services in the NHS are integrated and seamless.

NeLCAM focused on the identification of 'best-evidence', initially prioritising therapies included in the current Department of Health funded RCCM NHS Priorities project (cancer, mental health, coronary heart disease and stroke, chronic disease - www.rccm.org.uk/cameol). Links to clinical guidelines (for example the NICE guidelines on cancer and palliative care) where there are implications for CAM were provided. Links between NeLCAM and its users was ensured by representation of a wide range of stakeholder organisations via the External Reference Group.

The Research Council for Complementary Medicine (RCCM) 
The RCCM has, since 1983, facilitated collaboration between researchers and practitioners of conventional and alternative medicine. It has made a major contribution to developing research in complementary medicine and continues to provide quality information about the evidence on CAM. The RCCM also provides a research network that currently has over 500 members worldwide.

The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
For 150 years The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine has been the leading complementary provider in the UK, and is Europe’s largest public sector hospital for integrated complementary and alternative medicine. Homoeopathy remains its backbone, but many other therapies form integral parts of the service offered. In 1948 the hospital became part of the newly created NHS and, in the same year, by permission of King George VI, the London Homoeopathic Hospital became the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital. Subsequently, on her accession to the throne, HM The Queen became the Hospital’s patron. It has recently been renamed the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.

The Hospital also plays a vital role in the growing demand for education in complementary medicine and has also led much of the research effort into new techniques and therapies in complementary medicine. In 1995 the Hospital opened its Academic Unit and appointed Directors of Education and Research.

The School of Life Sciences (now part of the Faculty of Science & Technology) at the University of Westminster
As one of the foremost providers of CAM courses The School of Life Sciences has been delighted to be associated with this project. That key information about CAM was available electronically through the NHS National electronic Library for Health (and now through NHS Evidence) to students, practitioners and members of the public continues to ensure good practice promoted and developed.

Last updated on28 September, 2014 - 09:06
Created on23 December, 2010 - 17:04