• NICE publishes final guideline for low back pain and sciatica

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been revising its guidelines for low back pain and sciatica. NICE has now completed its work and published the final guideline on 30 November 2016.

The good news is that massage has been included in the guideline, under a recommendation for manual therapies, when used as part of a multi-treatment package including exercise.

Group yoga classes have also been included. Less good is that no recommendation has been made for the Alexander Technique, despite the ‘promising results’ referred to by the guideline development group. NICE also specifically stated that acupuncture was not to be recommended, even though it was included in the previous guideline.

CNHC responded to the consultation in which we supported the case for each of these disciplines. CNHC specifically supported the submission made by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) that a specific recommendation for further research of the Alexander Technique should be made, and clarified that the Technique is not a ‘postural therapy’ as it had been described.

CNHC continues to engage with NICE around guidelines that are relevant for CNHC registrants and the wider complementary health sector.

You can see the final NICE guideline at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng59 

• Healthcare Improvement Scotland Research Symposium – call for presentations

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has announced that its 5th Annual Research Symposium will be held in Edinburgh on Thursday 16 March 2017. The symposium theme is Evidence for sustainability: Exploring the current evidence underpinning ways to create sustainable health and care systems.
The closing date for abstracts is Monday 12 December 2016. Registration for the event will open in January 2017. For further details contact Eleanor Brownlee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

• Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) update

It has been brought to CNHC’s attention that practitioners may not be aware of the implications of changes to Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) which came into effect in April 2015.
If your earnings fall below the profit threshold for Class 2 NICs (£5,965 in 2016-17) you no longer need to pay and direct debits will no longer be taken. It is important for self-employed practitioners to be aware that this change could affect entitlement to a state pension. It is worth checking what this means for you as you may need to make up gaps in NICs to be eligible.

You can find out details about Self-Employed NI rates here: https://www.gov.uk/self-employed-national-insurance-rates . You can ask for a check on your NI record to see whether there are any gaps here: https://www.gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record. For information on how to make voluntary contributions to make up any gaps visit:  https://www.gov.uk/voluntary-national-insurance-contributions

You can see a range of HMRC resources on the Guidance page of our website under Publications / Guidance here: Guidance for Registrants

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