Accredited Complementary Practitioners
Recognized as an “Untapped Resource”
I’m delighted to report that the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has awarded me a Fellowship (the highest membership) in recognition of my contribution to health and well-being.
The Royal Society has also stated that practitioners registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) – of which I’ve been a member since hypnotherapists could join – represent an “untapped resource” in supporting public health, by encouraging their clients to make key lifestyle changes.
The adage: ‘prevention is better than cure’ comes to mind.
At a time when the NHS faces unprecedented demands on it’s limited resources, as individuals we do need to accept greater personal responsibility for our own health status. What we do each day can make a HUGE difference and does really matter.
Such lifestyle changes can include weight control, healthier eating and drinking, exercise, stopping smoking, reducing stress and anxiety, a sensible alcohol intake, sufficient sleep and, where appropriate, managing pain. I see clients for ALL of these issues and many conditions have a clear link with stress and anxiety.
Furthermore, the conventional ‘medical model’ division between mind and body, often taught in medical schools, is now being seriously questioned. It is realised that mind and body work in unison, reaching equilibrium in good health. Hypnotherapy is not just about the mind, it is about the heart or emotions too.
The RSPH has stated that practitioners on the CNHC register are well placed to offer brief interventions and ‘effective signposting’ for health concerns. They can build relations of trust with their clients and, compared with NHS health professions, have comparatively long consultations. Often too they can identify and resolve an issue that started as an emotional event and developed habitually.
Compared with a typical GP consultation in the NHS of just 6 – 10 minutes (which most doctors would admit as being insufficient) a clinical hypnotherapist can provide 60 minutes or more time in a session. This does not imply that the therapist is a substitute for the doctor.
Of course, most GPs do their very best with given time restrictions, but misdiagnosis and over use of medication are potential dangers. A more holistic approach is often needed. And the fundamental question WHY needs to be asked more often – establishing the TRUE cause of ‘dis-ease’ – which may well be stress or emotional issues; treating the past or present CAUSE, not simply the symptoms. All of which takes time.
Depression is almost a universal ‘dis-ease’ of developed societies. More often than not only the symptoms are treated (typically with antidepressants) and the underlying cause is not explored in medical consultations. In fairness this is because doctors just don’t have enough time and mental health services are limited. A more humanistic and holistic approach to health generally across the nation Is needed. Too many people are dying too young and there are too many conditions, such as Type 2 Diabetes and Depression, which are medicated rather than changed through a healthier lifestyle.
The NHS cost some £125 billion a year to run, an astronomical sum which represents around £2,000 a year for every man, woman and child in the UK. It is clearly not free – although we think of it as being free – when it’s free when visiting the doctor or hospital. Rather, as a nation we pay very substantially through taxation.
Despite this MASSIVE expenditure the health of the nation is abysmal! Obesity is commonly seen, alcoholism is spreading, in some areas drug use is out of control, over-medication – particularly of anti-depressants – is commonplace, poor eating habits are widespread – particular among lower income groups, Type 2 diabetes is a major health problem, gambling can lead to financial problems and mental problems and mental illness is often neglected or ignored – still being stigmatized. Like any insurance scheme those who use the NHS extract resources; frequently people who have followed an unhealthy lifestyle and, of course, an ageing population and their ills. And additionally, as a ‘business’ the NHS has high fixed costs (mainly staff costs) relative to total expenditure.
Staff working for the NHS and GPs contracted to provide services currently have stressful work schedules, due to the growing and complex needs of their patients.
Yet the same staff enjoy a much higher level of job security than many non-public sectors of the economy. The NHS is a virtual monopoly in healthcare and monopolies are rarely good at being user orientated – the main ‘competitive pressures’ being imposed by government policy and much less by the market. In fact, because the patient literally has ‘nowhere to go’ (there are few alternatives) this can place power in the hands of those who work in this public sector environment.
Fortunately the growing availability of more reliable information on the internet is eroding this ‘knowledge is power’ mentality and leading to a more collaborated relationship between doctor and patient. Old style doctors playing God are not unknown! Medicine is both art and science, rarely precise and there is still a lot that is not fully understood about both mind and body and the cause of some conditions and diseases. Over the years improvement in living conditions, provision of clean water, better nutrition, vaccination and antibiotics have been the main drivers in health improvement, rather than all the ‘wonder drugs’ marketed since. Present day there are more chronic physical and mental health issues to address.
In contrast, the NHS dental service fee structure provides ‘incentives’ to patients who look after their teeth. Those who don’t care for their teeth will pay more. Perhaps there should be similar ‘no-claim’ inducements to patients across healthcare generally. Dentists operate in a competitive environment. If they don’t see patients they don’t get paid! Hence they often enjoy a good relationship with their patients, even it is financially linked. However, one thing is clear: the ‘bottomless pit’ of healthcare expenditure needs to change in some way to encourage better public health.