Complementary and Alternative Medicine Familiarization: What's happening in Medical Schools in Wales?
Despite recommendations that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) familiarization should be offered to UK medical students, in Wales little such teaching was offered. We decided to assess medical students’ knowledge of CAMs, perceived training needs in CAMs, their view of its role in the National Health Service (NHS) and current teaching given. Analysis of data from a questionnaire given to medical students and direct questioning of senior academic medical school staff in Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools was carried out. The participants comprised 78 first year medical students in the undergraduate entry program in Cardiff and 58 first year medical students from the graduate entry program in Swansea. Senior academic medical school staff at Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools were asked about current CAM teaching. Results revealed that 32% of undergraduate entry students (UGES) had previous knowledge of CAMs compared with 51% of graduate entry students (GES). Of the UGES, 62% believed they should be taught about CAM's compared with 94% of GES. Of UGES 31% felt that CAMs have a role in the NHS compared with 50% of GES. None of the students had received teaching about CAMs and little formal CAM teaching is currently included in the curricula at each site. The majority of medical students in Wales would like to receive CAM teaching and significant numbers support a role for CAMs in the NHS. Little formal teaching is currently provided.