Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Evidence of support for RCCM:  Survey of users in 2008

In order to inform the RCCM’s strategy, stakeholders were asked to complete a survey about its current and future activities.  The RCCM survey was developed using a web based interface ( Invitations to participate were sent to members of the RCCM research network database (CAMRN) stakeholders from professional bodies and CAM networks. A total of 459 people were emailed and 231 responses have been received, giving a response rate of 50%.  

Responders from diverse backgrounds, including both complementary medicine practice and conventional healthcare completed the survey.

  • Some 25 areas of complementary practice were represented, with the most common being acupuncture (20%), massage (20%), homeopathy (17%), Reiki/healing (16%), aromatherapy (13%), and nutritional therapy, reflexology and herbal medicine with 13% each.
  • 18% of responders were professionals in conventional healthcare; nurses and doctors.
  • 60% of responders were currently engaged in CAM research. Of these, 62% were within a UK university, 30% were practitioners in the UK, 11% worked in a university in another country and 10% were practitioners in another country.
  • 27% had a PhD or MPhil; 48% of these were in CAM; 19% were currently studying for a CAM MPhil/PhD and 5% for a Masters by research in CAM.

Respondents were asked to rank on a scale of 1-5 (1 being unimportant to 5 being very important) which of the RCCM’s current activities should be developed further. The respondents on average rated all our activities highly, the ranking given being shown with the mean rating scores in Table 1. The most highly rated was “Providing a focus for CAM research which is unbiased with respect to the therapy”, with 70% rating it very important and only 2% rating it unimportant or fairly unimportant.  

Table 1.  Current RCCM activities

Average rating
(1= unimportant,
5= very important)

Providing a focus for CAM research which is unbiased with respect to the therapy


Facilitating practice research to build up the evidence base for CAM


Promoting the development of research capacity within CAM using existing doctoral, post doctoral and programme grants


Maintaining and developing the CAMRN researcher network, (currently over 500 members nationally and internationally), and disseminating CAM related research news to the network by email


Providing an objective voice, not therapy-specific,  for political and media comment on CAM research issues


Supporting the development of the CAM Library (CAM-LIS) as a physical and electronic resource for practitioners, at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital



Regarding the development of the future strategy for the RCCM (Table 2), the highest rated category was to “Publicise the evidence base for CAM and facilitate its use by practitioners” and the lowest was “Create a CAM research register”. Again all potential future activities were rated highly.


Table 2: Future strategy of RCCM

Average rating
(1= unimportant,
5= very important)

Publicise the evidence base for CAM and facilitate its use by practitioners.


Synthesise and disseminate existing evidence to the public and the NHS


Explore opportunities for CAM research funding


Draw on the evidence from both quantitative and qualitative research to facilitate appropriate CAM integration in the NHS


Map and provide links to CAM research carried out in UK universities


Work with professional organisations to translate research into clinical practice


Create a CAM research register



  • 66% of respondents did not use or access the NHS National Library for Health CAM Specialist Library
  • 55% were members of CAMRN (The RCCM’s own research network), 23% ACHRN, 20% ISCMR, 8% CCTN, 8% CHAIN and 4% PedCAM. Respondents belonged to a wide range of other special interest networks.


When asked what conditions and therapies they would discuss if advising a GP/hospital doctor/NHS manager about CAM, 99  (50%) people mentioned stress and anxiety  Back pain was reported by 70 respondents, depression by 44, digestive disorders by 44, chronic pain by 40 and cancer by 33, and arthritis by 31.  The lowest rated conditions were alcohol/drug dependence, osteoporosis, hayfever and asthma.  The most common therapy which they would advise was acupuncture (99 responses). Only 40 acupuncturists completed the questionnaire so this highlights perceptions of it being an effective treatment for stress reduction above all the other therapies. Homeopathy (61 responses) and herbal medicine (58) were the next most reported therapies which respondents would advise. A total of 33 homeopaths and 22 herbalists completed the questionnaire.  The least popular therapies that would be discussed in a conventional medical care environment were shiatsu, cranio-sacral therapy, and Alexander Technique.  However, this ranking is likely to be related to who answered the survey.

75% of respondents provided contact details and indicated that they would like to be involved in mapping complementary medicine research in the future.

A preliminary digest of the qualitative responses identified a keen interest in research and the importance of having a research community. Responders also commented that they felt the survey was well designed and easy to use and were pleased that their views had been sought.

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Last updated on3 October, 2011 - 13:10
Created on22 August, 2011 - 14:01