Can I see a Chiropractor on the NHS in Gwynedd, Conwy or Anglesey?


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The answer to the question of whether or not you can see a chiropractor on the NHS (National Health Service) is Yes and No. It is unfortunately a post code lottery as to whether your Local Health Board has a contract set up with a local clinic that your GP can refer you to for an NHS paid Chiropractor.  This article applies to people living in Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Conwy, Penmaenmawr, Llanfairfechan, Bangor, Bethesda, Caernarfon, Menai Bridge and Beaumaris.

The National Health Service in the UK still bizarrely classifies Chiropractic as a complimentary therapy, which means it falls outside the typical NHS umbrella of medical services. This is despite all Registered Chiropractors having to have undergone a medical course to become registered in the UK! So what can you do to get to see a Chiropractor on the NHS?

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Conservative care on the NHS?

NHS Chiropractor

At The North Wales Spine Clinic we use the same techniques as your general practitioner (GP) to diagnose your lower back pain or neck pain for example. However, we spend a longer time in consultation with you.

The average GP consultation time in the UK is 13.3 minutes. Whereas a new patient at The North Wales Spine Clinic for the first time could expect to be there for 45 minutes to one hour. We will be asking you questions about your health history and then performing a physical examination on you to help diagnose your source of pain and give an appropriate prognosis. If we feel it is required we may to refer you for special investigations like an X-ray, MRI or CAT scan or back to your GP for further blood test if needed to help diagnose your back pain. Before performing any treatment we will explain our findings to you so that you understand why you have pain and what your choices are to get relief of low back pain, neck pain or any of the plethora of muscular pain and skeletal pain problems we see.

Did you know that “muscular-skeletal system & connective tissue” problems account for the second most popular reason a patient in the UK would want to consult with their local GP. This is just behind the most common reason of problems with the “respiratory system” and just ahead of the third most popular problem with the “skin and subcutaneous system”.

So this means in the UK GP’s are very busy with seeing patient’s everyday with a muscle & joints aches and pains. In New Zealand and Australia for example many people don’t waste the GP’s time or their own time with back pain issues, they go straight to the ChiropractorChiropractors spend 5 years focusing on spinal related disorders; Physiotherapists undergo a 3-year course to equip themselves for the work of the NHS whilst an average GP may spend no more than 8 weeks on spinal problems.  Who would you go to?

So then what if you wanted to see a Chiropractor on the NHS at The North Wales Spine Clinic instead of your GP?

Read on to find out more about the NHS health decision chain.

Local Health Board Contracts

In Scotland & Wales the Primary Care Trust is known as the Local Health Board. The Local Health Board will approve an Alternative Provider Medical Service (APMS) contract with Chiropractic clinic in their area to provide Chiropractic treatment for a group of GP’s in an area. So this means that the GP may refer a patient to have Chiropractic on the NHS only if the Chiropractic clinic has an approved Alternative Provider Medical Service (APMS) contract with the Local Health Board. So you need to ask your GP to refer you to The North Wales Spine Clinic.

Local GP practices decide what health services they want to provide patients in their area. The GP’s come together to form a GP consortia who would then ask the local health board to approve Chiropractic services for their patients on the NHS. The GP consortia would do this if patients in their practices were asking to see a Chiropractor on the NHS.

So this means if you live in Anglesey, Gwynedd or Conway and have low back pain or neck pain and want to see a Chiropractor you have to ask to receive.

Only if your GP knows that you would like to see a Chiropractor for your back pain could they then tell you if they can refer you to see a Chiropractor on the NHS. Or they could refer you but you would have to pay privately for you Chiropractic treatment & consultation. But, by asking your GP to see a Chiropractor means they are aware that there is a need from patients in their area who are looking for Chiropractic services so they could look to apply for the Local Health Board approval.

So at the moment not many GP’s in the Gwynedd, Conwy or Anglesey areas can refer you to see a Chiropractor on the NHS unfortunately. This means you would have to pay privately for any Chiropractic treatment. If you have medical insurance like BUPA, PPP or Simplyhealth then you can claim for you Chiropractic care through insurance instead.

NHS Chiropractor Conclusion

If you are from Gwynedd, Conwy or Anglesey it is possible to see a Chiropractor on the NHS at The North Wales Spine Clinic, but you have to ask. Your local GP practice would need to apply to the Local Health Board to approve your treatment though The North Wales Spine Clinic on an Alternative Provider Medical Service (APMS) contract. Only then would your GP be able to send you directly for any Chiropractic treatment at our clinic paid by the NHS.

Useful contact information for Chiropractic on the NHS:

Gwynedd Local Health Board:

Anglesey Local Health Board:

Conwy Local Health Board: