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Designing and delivering a hypnotherapy service for irritable bowel syndrome in primary care
  1. Helen Bremner
  1. Correspondence to Helen Bremner, Community Clinical Nurse Hypnotherapist, Sandwell Primary Care Trust, Kingston House, 438 High Street, West Bromwich, B70 9LD, UK; helen.bremner1{at}


Evidence-based guidelines recommend hypnotherapy as a treatment option for intractable irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, few National Health Service (NHS) hypnotherapy services are in place. We report the experiences and results from the only NHS-funded primary care service for IBS hypnotherapy in England (as identified by a telephone audit of 151 Primary Care Trusts (PCT) in England in February 2011). The service was delivered by a full-time nurse hypnotherapist, commissioned and funded by a PCT. In 18 months, 119 patients have been seen. Validated scoring tools showed improvement in quality of life and symptom severity scores, with improvement in all domains following therapy. This case study illustrates both the clinical effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of IBS delivered by a nurse hypnotherapist and some of the challenges faced when setting up this service. This paper summarises aspects of a model of care that could act as a template for service providers wishing to deliver hypnotherapy for IBS.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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