How it started
In April 2020 a callout was issued via Facebook to BAcC acupuncturists to discuss ways that we might be able to support the NHS frontline staff dealing with their even greater workload due to Covid-19.
A large group of experienced acupuncturists across the country brainstormed ideas on safe practices and lobbied for insurance to treat the NHS in lockdown. Four members from the Brighton team sat on these committees. Cara Beckinsale and Soreh Levy co-founded the Brighton project, the first and only in the UK.
Huge amounts of work went into forming a clinical team of 8, implementing a MYMOP (Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile) to research outcomes, and setting up a safe working clinic in the height of the pandemic.
We were granted specialist insurance as no one was permitted to work, and opened during the first lockdown on the 9th of June to treat the NHS exclusively, offering 40 treatments a week. Our first two weeks were booked solid within three days.
We offered free treatments at the peak of the first lockdown. When things began to open up, we switched to a low-cost clinic with no set charge for treatments, but a sliding scale of costs for NHS workers.
What we achieved in the first year
On June 10th, 2021, we reached our goal of successfully running the start-up model for an entire year, mostly on our own initiative with several small pots of external funding and some donations from patients. It was innovative, rewarding, and a learning curve for us as practitioners. An added pleasure was introducing the experience of acupuncture to our local NHS community which led to positive integration opportunities.
Our statistical outcomes for the first year of Acupuncture For NHS
The research arm of the project was undertaken as part of the original clinic. These statistics show that over 80% of the 165 patients who had completed at least two surveys show an improvement in their original complaints.
We completed more than 750 individual treatments and have over 250 registered patients. We are looking to co-ordinate the research to support our continued integration of acupuncture into the NHS.
A re-launch with adaptations
In September 2021 we adapted the project but using a multibed approach so we could be much more cost effective treating 3 patients in an hour as restrictions had lifted on distancing. Anna, Cara and Claire delivered this service for the NHS staff but could not sustain it without external funding.
Due to the profile we raised by treating NHS staff Cara and Anna were invited to join the GP surgery Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre (now WellBN) as in house acupuncturists. WellBn was interested to include our multibed team in a trauma project called Connection Works. This project was devised by WellBn for public NHS patients suffering complex trauma where traditional NHS modalities hadn’t been successful. It is a yearlong project that covers many other alternative disciplines, each discipline is given a section of the year to work with the patients.
We used the multibed model (both time and cost-effective saving for the NHS) and completed our treatment schedule in July 2022 and again in July 2023, running the clinic for 6 weeks. The initial data from this project is extremely promising and will be posted here when available.
Meet the Team
Cara has been practicing acupuncture for over 10 years in London and Hove. Her main long-term focus is the integration of Eastern and Western medicines and that was part of her motivation to start this project. Her specialism is PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
t: 07909 761 477
Claire has over 15 years of clinical experience specialising in women’s health and paediatrics. She also has a special interest in mental health and a passion for community-based clinic work and making acupuncture accessible for all.
t: 07399 248 030