This is brilliant news, and long overdue.
A new report, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare (PGIH), urges the NHS to embrace complementary, traditional and natural medicine to ease the mounting burden on service provision. The report, “Integrated Healthcare: Putting the Pieces Together”, recommends a whole person approach to health delivery focusing on prevention and tackling the root cause of illness. It highlights the fact that 70% of total health expenditure in England is associated with treating the 30% of the population with one long-term condition or more. The result of these complex health conditions being the growing problem of polypharmacy (the use of several drugs at the same time) coupled with largely unknown effects of combining drugs over a sustained period of time. A significant part of this strategy would be to treat patients as whole persons, with individual needs, rather than with a variety of illnesses that are treated separately.
Having volunteered for North Hants Hospital Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support at their Living With Cancer events I hope this news will enable them to hold more events and provide more holistic support to cancer patients who really need it.
Many hospices and hospital now have teams of volunteers providing holistic therapies, such as reiki and reflexology to cancer patients. However, very very few actually have holistic therapists on the payroll.
I would love to see more therapists encouraged to work (voluntary or paid) in hospices and hospitals supporting patients who have a wide range of terminal and non critical physical health issues, in addition to helping those with mental and emotional illnesses.
Watch this space!