Is acupuncture safe and are there any side-effects?
The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) details that ‘acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments, both conventional and complementary, on offer in the UK’ see link: https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/public-content/public-safety-of-acupuncture/is-acupuncture-safe.html
Getting treatment from a BAcC registered acupuncturist ensures that the person is a fully qualified practitioner who has completed a degree-level training or equivalent. The training includes aspects of western medicine (anatomy, physiology and pathology) and 3500 hours of study have been undertaken. All needles are pre-sterilised, used once and disposed of safely after the treatment.
There are very few side effects from acupuncture treatment from a fully qualified practitioner, which are mild in nature and self correcting such as occasional bruising around the needled area or dizziness. Cupping and Gua Sha can leave a temporary mark (like a bruise) but these should clear in a few days.
What does acupuncture feel like?
The acupuncture needles are very thin (normally 0.2mm which is as fine as human hair) making it possible to slide into the skin and so should be painless. The needles come with a guide tube and the patients generally can only feel the pressure of the guide tube on their skin and not the insertion of the needle. The sensation that patients can feel when the needle is manipulate which is DeQi which can be a dull ache, a dragging or tugging sensation. This shows that the acupuncture point is being stimulated and most patients enjoy feeling this sensation.
What to expect from the first treatment?
Please ensure that you do not have an empty stomach or have just had a heavy meal before the treatment.
It is a good idea to wear loose clothing around the arms and legs as many acupuncture points are located here. If this is not possible, you will be supplied with a patient gown.
If you are on any medications, please bring a list with you.
How will I feel after a treatment?
Most patients feel very relaxed during treatment and may feel a little tired afterwards, therefore this should be taken into consideration if you plan to drive or operate heavy machinery immediately afterwards.
It is also recommended not to drink alcohol within a few hours of the treatment or undertake strenuous exercise.
Most patients feel leave the treatment feeling more relaxed and have an improved sense of well-being.
How many treatments will I need?
This is difficult to answer as each treatment plan is specific to that individual, but in general you should feel a benefit by 4 – 6 sessions. Generally speaking, the longer you have had the complaint or if it is complex in nature, then the longer it will take to correct. Please be assured that you will not receive more treatment than is needed.
Justine West Acupuncture
Purpose of privacy notice
The processing of personal data is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (the GDPR). This legislation will replace current data privacy law, giving more rights to you as an individual and more obligations to organisations holding your personal data.
One of the rights is a right to be informed, which means I have to give you even more information than we do now about the way in which we use, share and store your personal information.
This means that I will be publishing a new privacy notice so you can access this information, along with information about the increased rights you have in relation to the information I hold on you and the legal basis on which I am using it.
This new privacy notice comes into effect and will be published on my website on 25 May 2018.
Who am I?
Justine West is the data controller of Justine West Acupuncture at Total Health West Berks, Deanwood Therapy Centre, the Wellbeing Centre and the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine. This means I decide how your personal data is processed and for what purposes.
Whose information does this privacy notice apply to?
This privacy notice applies to information we collect from:
- prospective patients;
- former patients;
- visitors to my website;
What is personal data?
Personal data relates to a living individual who can be identified from that data. Identification can be by the information alone or in conjunction with any other information in the data controller’s possession or likely to come into such possession. Examples of personal data I may hold about you include your contact and appointment details.
Special category data is a sub-category of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation. Examples of special category data I may hold about you include your patient notes.
How do I process your personal data?
I comply with my obligations under the GDPR by keeping personal data up to date; by storing and destroying it securely; by not collecting or retaining excessive amounts of data; by protecting personal data from loss, misuse, unauthorised access and disclosure and by ensuring that appropriate technical measures are in place to protect personal data. I use your personal data for the purposes set out below.
Sections 1 – 14 apply to our patients, prospective patients, former patients and visitors to my clinics
- I use your name, address, telephone number and email address to make and rearrange appointments. I am unable to send or receive encrypted emails so you should be aware that any emails I send or receive may not be protected in transit. I will also monitor any emails sent to me, including file attachments, for viruses or malicious software. Please be aware that you have a responsibility to ensure that any email you send to me is within the bounds of the law.
- Some patients and prospective patients return pre- 1st appointment questionnaires or tell me about their medical conditions and medication by email or online enquiry forms. I am unable to send or receive encrypted emails so you should be aware that any emails I send or receive may not be protected in transit. I will also monitor any emails sent to me, including file attachments, for viruses or malicious software. Please be aware that you have a responsibility to ensure that any email you send to me is within the bounds of the law.
- I keep a permanent attendance register which records all appointments for patients attending our clinic to keep a record of when you were treated for tax purposes and to secure potential evidence in the event of a criminal prosecution, civil litigation, insurance claim or complaint to my regulatory body, the British Acupuncture Council.
- I may use your date of birth to help identify patients with the same name to avoid mistakes being made as to safe and appropriate treatment, for identification purposes if referring a patient to another health practitioner, and for identification purposes if writing to a registered medical practitioner so that they correctly identify the patient.
- I use your presenting complaint and symptoms reported by you for the purposes of making a full traditional diagnosis, formulating treatment strategy and treatment planning.
- I use any relevant medical and family history you have told me for making a full traditional diagnosis, formulating treatment strategy and treatment planning.
- I use your GP’s name and address in the event that I need to contact your GP including in an emergency and because it is a mandatory requirement in the British Acupuncture Code of Professional Conduct.
- I use our clinical findings about your health and wellbeing for making a full traditional diagnosis, and formulating treatment strategy and treatment planning.
- I keep a record of and refer to that record of any treatment given and details of progress of your case, including reviews of treatment planning to enable me to: review the full traditional diagnosis, treatment strategy and planning; and to secure evidence in the event of criminal proceedings, civil litigation, an insurance claim or complaint.
- I record and use any information and advice that I have given, especially when referring patients to any other health professional, to help you to receive the most appropriate treatment and to secure evidence in the event of criminal proceedings, civil litigation, an insurance claim or complaint.
- I record any decisions made in conjunction with you to help you to receive the most appropriate treatment and to secure evidence in the event of criminal proceedings, civil litigation, an insurance claim or complaint.
- I keep accident records for any patients, visitors or staff who are involved in accidents at our clinic in accordance with UK Health and Safety legislation including the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) to comply with the law and to secure evidence in the event of criminal proceedings, civil litigation, an insurance claim or complaint.
- In the event of an adverse incident occurring to any of my patients I report the matter to the British Acupuncture Council and the insurance company to enable the insurance company to deal with any potential claims and to help the British Acupuncture Council to develop its safe practice guidelines, as well as providing research data and information for the BAcC’s insurers and other interested parties.
- Where relevant I maintain records of the patient’s consent to treatment, or the consent of their next-of-kin in order to be able to prove that the patient (and/or parent/guardian/next of kin) has given informed consent to treatment to secure evidence in the event of a civil claim, criminal prosecution, insurance claim or complaint.
This section applies to those who complain about my services
When I receive a complaint from a person I make up a file containing the details of the complaint. This normally contains the identity of the complainant and any other individuals involved in the complaint.
I will only use the personal information I collect to process the complaint and to check on the level of service I provide. I usually have to disclose the complainant’s identity to whoever the complaint is about. If a complainant doesn’t want information identifying him or her to be disclosed, I will try to respect that. However, it may not be possible to handle a complaint on an anonymous basis. I may need to provide personal information collected and processed in relation to complaints to the British Acupuncture Council or our insurance company.
I will keep personal information contained in complaint files in line with our retention policy. This means that information relating to a complaint will be retained for two years from closure. It will be retained in a secure environment and access to it will be restricted according to the ‘need to know’ principle.
Similarly, where enquiries are submitted to me I will only use the information supplied to me to deal with the enquiry and any subsequent issues and to check on the level of service I provide.
I use a third party service, YinYang Hosting to host my website. The platform used is WordPress.
Sharing your personal data
Your personal data will be treated as strictly confidential, and will be shared:
- with named third parties with your explicit consent;
- with the relevant authority such as the police or a court, if necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which we are subject e.g. a court order;
- with your doctor or the police if necessary to protect yours or another person’s life;
- with the police or a local authority for the purpose of safeguarding a children or vulnerable adults; or
- with my regulatory body, the British Acupuncture Council, or my insurance company in the event of a complaint or insurance claim being brought against me; or
- my solicitor in the event of any investigation or legal proceedings being brought against me.
For further details about the situations when information about you might be shared please see the Information Commissioner’s website at https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/personal-information/sharing-my-info/
How long I we keep your personal data?
I keep your personal data for no longer than reasonably necessary.
I keep patient records for a period of 7 years in accordance with the British Acupuncture Code of Professional Conduct https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/public-content/effective-practice/bacc-professional-codes.html
I would request all current patients to ensure changes to details such as email address and contact numbers are updated to ensure that I am able to provide reminders for appointment dates and times. Any updates for past patients will be done if they return for treatment.
I will store present and past files in a secure locking file cabinet. After the seven year term exceeds a patient file, it will be disposed of by burning or by a secure shredding service. In the event of my death, your files will be destroyed securely.
At any time, you may request that changes are made to your contact details.
Your rights and your personal data
Unless subject to an exemption under the GDPR, you have certain rights with respect to your personal data as set out below.
- The right to request a copy of your personal data which I hold about you.
- The right to request that I correct any personal data if it is found to be inaccurate or out of date.
- The right to request your personal data is erased where it is no longer necessary for me to retain such data.
- The right to withdraw your consent to the processing at any time. This right does not apply where I am processing information using a lawful purpose other than consent.
- The right to request that I provide you with your personal data and where possible, to transmit that data directly to another data controller, (known as the right to data portability), (where applicable) [This right only applies where the processing is based on consent or is necessary for the performance of a contract with you and in either case the we are processing the data by automated means].
- The right, where there is a dispute in relation to the accuracy or processing of your personal data, to request a restriction is placed on further processing.
- The right to object to the processing of personal data, (where applicable) [This right only applies where processing is based on legitimate interests (or the performance of a task in the public interest/exercise of official authority); direct marketing and processing for the purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics].
- The right to be informed if your data is lost. I shall also inform the Information Commissioner’s Office in accordance with the time limits in the GDPR.
- The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
For further details about these rights please see the Information Commissioner’s website at https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/is-my-information-being-handled-correctly/
If I wish to use your personal data for a new purpose, not covered by this Privacy Notice, then I will provide you with a new notice explaining this new use prior to commencing the processing and setting out the relevant purposes and processing conditions. Where and whenever necessary, I will seek your prior consent to the new processing.
To exercise all relevant rights, queries of complaints please in the first instance contact me at email@example.com.