TO ALL SMART UK MEMBERS IN WALES
26th February 2014
We are concerned and alarmed to hear that there has been a series of directives to our members in Wales regarding Auricular Acupuncture. It seems that some of you are being given unrealistic conditions and financial considerations for your practice.
Firstly can we say that we indeed welcome input and feedback from anyone who is focused on the best interests of our patient groups; SMART UK hold nothing more important than the safety and well-being of the patients that come into contact with either us directly or our exceptional members. Our ethical framework, our advisory board and our many years of experience have reflected this for over twenty years.
Any concerns that someone may have about our patient group would be a great concern to us also. For that reason we do not take offence at the idea that any interested party would question our standards – SMART UK and their members have always been open to scrutiny and we have a highly qualified teaching team including an award-winning professional acupuncture teacher, a military medical doctor, a doctor of neuroscience and a seasoned psychotherapist – who are all members of a variety of professional bodies in their own right.
However, misunderstandings seem to have arisen, and we consider it very important to correct them. We are more than happy to speak to whoever it is that is making these decisions, but as yet we have not been able to identify where they are actually coming from.
So for your information, we would like to point out the misunderstandings that have been drawn to our attention so that you can pass this on to any contacts that are sending through these directives for their reconsideration.
* Pleased be advised that members of SMART UK are NOT acupuncturists but are classed as auricular therapists
* They do not provide full body acupuncture, they do not diagnose illness condition, they do not offer this to the general public nor are they permitted to charge for this intervention. In fact it is a Rule 1 break if they do charge and they would be struck off immediately.
* This is a small formula treatment involving 5 tiny pins on 5 points on the ear that is provided only as an adjunct to the many other interventions on offer to their existing substance misuse and/or associated mental health patients. This is never a stand alone treatment.
* SMART UK have been in existence for 20 years, having trained nearly 12,000 healthcare professionals in the neuroscience of addiction and to provide auricular therapy as an additional intervention to their suite of skills to help their existing services users in recovery from substance misuse and associated mental health.
* SMART UK ONLY teach this from a modern, Western, clinical perspective, we are the ONLY organisation to have carried out effective and progressive research into the efficacy of this treatment and our ethos is influenced by neuroscientists, doctors, clinicians and specialists workers.
* Information about the understanding of the mechanisms of action and citations for research is available in our book.
* For more clinical detail and information please do contact one of our founders and current consultants, Dr. Kim Wager, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University.
* We ONLY provide our training within the NHS, within HMPS, the Home Office, Armed Forces and across the spectrum of support services working in this field where there is a clear clinical rationale for its application.
* We do not train the general public to provide this therapy – criteria for even beginning the intensive 4-day exam-based training starts with participants needing to be already working in the field. This is not something either that someone can learn to do in anticipation of securing a job in the field. Our Ethical Framework is very strict and clear.
* SMART UK has a full register of practitioners, who all subscribe to our ethical framework and are required to register each year, a process that involves reassessment of their skills.
* They are required to have public liability insurance that covers their use of this intervention as part of their ongoing license to practice.
* In 45 years of this treatment being used in this field, nobody has ever had to make a claim on their public liability insurance for this intervention.
* We have a stringent disciplinary procedure for any breaches of our ethical framework including using other points, making claims that are unsupported by anything other than clinical, scientific evidence, exploitation of any kind with clients, inappropriate provision of this intervention and failure to adhere to the ethos of the SMART UK Professional Register.
* We do not train organisations other than those working directly in these areas. So for example we do not train a company to give this treatment to their employees. We only train organisations and establishments who are working specifically in the recovery of substance misuse and associated mental health.
* In 45 years of this well-known intervention being used in this field, nobody has ever contracted a BBV from an auricular therapy pin and our clinical standards and the way that this treatment is given is designed specifically to maintain that statistic.
* The application of old bye-laws relating to tattooists and ear piercing environments is not applicable to this intervention.
* Its portable, highly sterile qualities mean that many vulnerable patients can access this intervention.
* Consequently, the requirements for a sink in the room, impervious flooring, gloves, paper towels etc. are not necessary. Our basic equipment includes the use of sterile wipes, sterile cotton wool, anti-bacterial hand-wash for both practitioner and patient to use before and after, single use, sterile auricular pins, sharps box, and clinical waste unit.
* Some of the conditions that we are hearing about are more pertinent to a blood transfusion environment or larger surgical intervention.
* Our members are fully trained in the highest quality clinical standards including stick injury, blood-borne viruses, hygiene and effective and therapeutic practices. Being on the frontline of healthcare, we upgrade our health and safety policies as new information emerges.
* SMART UK and its members are supported by a strong Advisory Committee, who underpin and oversee the efficacy of the teaching, the standards, the ethical framework and ongoing understanding of best practice. This Committee is made up of clinicians, researchers, educators, specialists in the fields and representatives from the diverse range of services where this intervention may be used.
We hope this clarifies any concerns because we feel sure that anyone with the best interests of this patient group at heart will recognise that to deny them this safe and simple intervention without good reason would be a terrible loss to very vulnerable services users. We are more than happy to speak to anyone who has any queries.
Sue Cox Bsc (Hons), Lic.Ac. M.B.Ac.C