The King's Fund today launches a challenge to researchers to improve understanding of how orthodox, complementary and traditional approaches to health are used together in practice.
The King's Fund is offering researchers support and up to £150,000 to find out if integrated health care encourages people to take greater responsibility for their self-care, or to explore the way traditional approaches to health might be better integrated to provide safe and effective care.
Researchers must work in partnership with primary care practitioners, complementary therapy providers and patients. Projects must also lead to practical outcomes for health care and benefit a majority of people living in London. The programme will focus on the five mainstream complementary therapies – acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic practice, osteopathy and herbal medicine – as well as traditional approaches that are often deeply rooted in people's personal experiences and range from herbal medication through to the role of faith or spiritual leaders. The integrated health programme is not designed to fund the direct costs of providing complementary therapies.
The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:
'This programme reflects the increasing interest in complementary health care and the often wide-use of traditional approaches within specific communities. We want to examine how health care practitioners can work together with patients to integrate complementary therapies and more conventional approaches to health. In particular, we want to look at the effect this has on the future needs of patients and health services. And we want to ensure primary care practitioners are more aware of traditional approaches and can help patients to talk about them and use their community resources effectively to improve their health.'
The integrated funding stream is part of a wider three-year, £3 million funding and development programme, Partners for Health in London. Other programme streams focus on evaluating service delivery within the areas of sexual health, mental health advocacy and end-of-life care.
In spring 2006 The King's Fund will also issue the first of a series invitations for commissioned research to tackle specific questions of cost-effectiveness in the field of integrated health.
Further details on applying for the programme can be found on integrated health page of The King's Fund website.
The King's Fund will be holding a briefing for those interested in applying on 6th February and the deadline for proposals is 5pm on the 7th April.
Notes to editors:
- For further information or interviews, please contact the King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
- The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.