Taipei TCM Association
Taipei TCM Association
Dr. Gil Barzilay, Head of Research at the ETCMA, was on a private 4-weeks trip to Taiwan that has included other than sightseeing, observations in hospitals and private clinics around Taipei and Taichung as well as meetings with the Head of Taiwan TCM Association, Taipei TCM Association (=PTCMA, with whom the ETCMA has signed MoU), and lectures about TCM in Europe, Israel, Research education and the ICCM in the biggest TCM School and hospital in Taiwan.
Some of the key impressions from the visit:
- TCM studies in Taiwan are 7 years usually, though if you have a bachelor in science, you can do it in 5 years. Studies focus on western medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine.After that, there is a very clear internship program too and once you get your license, you are allowed to work either in hospital or clinic - you can not do both!
- TCM is available for everyone through the National Health Service in hospitals or clinics. You just have to look for the logo, enter with your NHS Card and get treatment, for which you will pay a few Taiwanese dollars. You can change Drs as you wish, all your records, including Western Medicine drugs, tests etc, are on your card and available to your Dr.
- All private clinics and hospitals have herbal dispensary as well. Some more sophisticated than others, but with some of the world's best herb suppliers, this is no surprise. Patients receive powdered formula in daily sachets. If raw or decoction is desired, these are more expensive. All prescriptions are fully recorded, which is what makes the Taiwanese database such an excellent and reliable source for epidemiological research, especially in chronic diseases.
- Clinics (private or hospital) are very well organised:
- Opening times are clear - usually 900-1230, 1400-1730 and in some cases 1800-2100. 6 days a week.
- There is a whole team. One Dr. and nurses and assistants who help with the preparations, register the points on a piece of paper, take the time and finish off the treatment taking needles out, cupping etc and see the patient off.
- Meanwhile, at the back, the formula is being prepared (not seen ANY patient who didn't get herbs on top of the acupuncture, no matter what the condition was)
- In hospitals you have an acupuncture department, just like herbal one etc. On the door of each Dr you have the list of patients who are coming today, updated electronically.
To summarize, I've seen an incredible, well organized health system, I saw a lot of patience and kindness. I also met some wonderful people, inviting and sharing their world and I want to personally thank each one of them, the Taipei Chinese Medical Association for organizing all the meetings in Taipei and for Winder wen-te Chang for organizing all the visits in Taichung.