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What Does the NHS Crisis say to Complementary Therapy

Last modified 2014-03-28 22:43

The problems of the NHS are intensifying, in the mid-2000s many Primary Care Trusts (the then manifestation of local family Doctor management) saved money by stopping non-emergency referrals for the rest of the financial year. Some allegedly also refused to fulfil obligations to pay dentists or hospitals f or work done. My dentist joined the stampede to leave the NHS and I now have to pay £130 a year or so for my dental care.

It has always been a truism that what NHS dentistry is doing now is a marker for NHS General Medical Services. None of this is new and has been visible in the British health care for decades.

However there is a message here for the complementary therapy community.

It seems that the general organisational status of complementary therapy is loosely analagous to that of mainstream medicine before the National health Service (NHS) and the course of that organisation can be studied as a pathway to avoid.

A number of things spring to mind:-

  • needs to organise and produce credible regulatory organisations and registers that police standards and protect the public from the whackier elements. This is already happening in some areas like osteopathy but needs to be widespread and if possible universal. An overarching organisation with the authority negotiate with government akin to the General Medical Council or the General Dental Council needs to be formed to be the ultimate arbiter in this area. This is the only way that self policing will be allowed.
  • Vitally, the above needs to in place and have governmental credibility so that therapists are not forced (or "mouths stuffed with gold") into a parallel NHS. If this doesn't happen then piecemeal legislation will remove the potential corporate power of complementary therapy and divide and rule. All sorts of rules and targets that the therapists need to carry on in practice will be imposed by government to the detriment of therapists and patients. See where a centrally controlled NHS has led, with doctors revolting in some areas and the dentists voting with their feet.
  • Therapists need to consider patient plans with monthly payments instead of the near universal item of service system of payment.

There are major lessons to be learned by complementary therapy from those historical ructions in the NHS.


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