Acupuncture on the NHS – 100 complaints of needles left in body

Hundreds of patients complain of discomfort following treatment including dizziness and even collapsed lungs

Acupuncture has been seen as a remedy for curing a range of health problems. But now new research shows that hundreds of patients have been suffering discomfort following treatment.

NHS patients have complained of dizziness, collapsed lungs and even needles left in the body, with some leading to life threatening health problems.

Over the last two years alone there have been a total of 325 complaints.

There were 100 cases of needles left inside the body, 63 patients who lost consciousness, 99 who felt dizzy or faint and five patients who suffered lung collapse after a needle accidentally penetrated their chest.

The results, which were collected from researches from the National Patient Safety Agency, could be far higher, as the study only included NHS patients rather those who sought for help privately. Also, many patients failed to report side effects.

Although 95% of cases were seen as ‘low harm,’ they did still cause inconvenience and discomfort for the patients.

Professor Edzard Ernst, an expert in complementary medicine at the Peninsula Medical School in Truro, Cornwall, who was involved in the research, said, ‘The investigation shows for the first time that acupuncture, as employed within the NHS, is not devoid of risks.

‘The adverse events disclosed in this study tend to be mild and rare but there is good reason to suspect that, due to under-reporting, the real size of the problem is substantially larger.’


Acupuncture is a former ancient Chinese medicine in which needles are inserted at specific points in the body to connect energy pathways.

Supporters of the treatment argue it has cured a range of health problems, including migraines, toothache, depression, and allergies, with a reduction of withdrawal symptoms for those giving up smoking.

Critics on the other hand believe the praise for the treatment to be a placebo, where patients convince themselves of the positive affects.

Have you or would you ever use acupuncture as a health treatment? Let us know in the comment box below.

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