Changing the conversation about health

Complementary Medicine Roundup – February 2019


In August 2018, the Government published its response to the recommendations of the Health and Social Care committee’s inquiry into integrated care: organisations, partnerships and systems (Seventh report of session 2017-2019; August 2018, Cm9695).

Please note that the bolding of text (below) has been added by me to highlight parts of the documentation that, I believe, may be of particular interest to CAM practitioners and organisations.

The Committee’s conclusions and recommendations included the statement (extract at page 14): 

‘…44. We support the move towards integrated, collaborative, place-based care. To help deliver more integrated care for patients we advocate the cultivation of diverse local health and economies, comprised of mostly public, but also some non-statutory provision, in which the organising principle is centred on collaboration and quality rather than financial competition. We consider that this diversity is important for protecting patient choice and with proper oversight and collaborative working may facilitate, rather than impede, joined-up, patient-centred and co-ordinated care…’

To which the Government responded as follows (excerpt at page 14):

‘…We agree with the Committee’s conclusion and welcome the support for a diversity of provision which best fits the needs of local populations.

It is our intention that people who use health and social care services are equal partners when planning, developing, monitoring and implementing their care, to make sure it meets their individual needs. When this approach is taken, we know that individual outcomes can improve and quality of life can be enhanced.

It is important therefore that organisations within local areas work together to provide the best possible range of services for local people that can help facilitate joined-up and patient-centred care.

This approach has already developed through STPs [sustainability and transformation partnerships]and integrated care systems, which fundamentally involve redesigning services to make it easier for individuals to access health and social care at the right time, in the right place. STPs bring NHS providers, commissioners, local authorities, and other health and care services together to agree how they, at local level, can plan and provide health and care in a more person-centred and coordinated way. STPs and integrated care systems focus on collaboration to improve quality of care and outcomes for local communities, rather than competing for resources. 

The Five Year Forward View Next Steps and the NHS Planning Guidance for 2017-2019, jointly published by NHS England and NHS Improvement, has reiterated that the key task for the NHS is to implement the FYFV to drive improvements in health and care; maintain financial balance; and meet core access and quality standards.

This guidance has been built around STPs, so that the commitments and changes coming out of these plans translate fully into system-wide operational plans…’ [Page14]

The Government further responded at page 41:

‘…13. Conclusion:

We welcome the Committee’s report and their broad support for the principle of integrating services for patients. The publication of the NHS long term plan in the Autumn will set out the practical next steps the NHS will make to deliver this type of transformation across the country. This plan will also begin conversations with the wider public about why integrating services is important to ensuring the NHS continues to offer the highest quality services fit for the 21st century. We look forward to working with the Committee to ensure the NHS continues to deliver the best outcomes for people and the health and care system as a whole…’ [page 41].

Applying the criteria set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) press release (issued on 12th March 2015) and in its publication (published in conjunction with the Royal Society for Public Health) titled Untapped Resources: Accredited Registers in the wider workforce, both of which are covered in more detail in my March 2018 and October 2018 blogs, it is clear that the objectives described in the Government response (quoted above) present an opportunity for the NHS to include a role for CAM practitioners in its long-term workforce plan. In this workforce plan, the Government refers to the plan (page 30, paragraph 10: Funding and workforce challenges), as being: 

‘…our opportunity to support more joined up working in the health and social care systems to ensure we have the capacity and capability to successfully respond to the ever increasing, and complex, needs of the population through new integrated models of care. By developing this workforce plan as part of the NHS long-term plan we can ensure the NHS has the right numbers and skills to deliver the care of the future…’

Information about the recently (07.01.19) published NHS Long Term Plan may be viewed here

Refer also to the briefing paper titled THE HEALTHCARE WORKFORCE IN ENGLAND: MAKE OF BREAK? (November 2018: The Health FoundationNuffield Trust and The King’s Fund) prepared in advance of the next NHS long-term plan and which is to be followed by a more in-depth report. The paper concludes, among other things, that:

‘…Effective workforce planning needs to involve a much wider group of perspectives than just NHS bodiesIt will need stronger collaboration between the education, health and social care sectors; other national authorities; and the private sector to improve the match between health professional education and the realities of health service delivery…’


November 18th 2018 was European Antibiotic Awareness Day when the European Committee for Homeopathy published its “call for action” which may be viewed here. 

Previously, on the 22nd June 2018, The College of Medicine filed written evidence to the above Parliamentary Inquiry. This was accepted for publication and posted on 10th July 2018 and may be viewed here and here

On 22nd October 2018, the committee published its report which may be viewed here and here. By making no express reference to CAM, the parliamentary committee appears to have ignored the evidence submitted by the College and other CAM organisations and individuals.

In view of the strength of the evidence submitted by them, this is disappointing but confirms the need to persevere and to continue to file submissions to Government inquiries on behalf of CAM practitioners and their patients.


Summer 2018 heralded the launch of the NHS Natural Health School which describes its mission as:

‘…to provide complementary therapy diplomas and CPD courses that will uniquely include practical placements and clinical supervision within the NHS. An emphasis on training within the clinical environment will lead to a generation of highly skilled and confident practitioners able to offer a range of therapies to an increasingly complex population…’ 

The School offers a wide range of approved and accredited courses taught by highly qualified and clinically skilled lecturers who are experienced in working clinically within NHS Healthcare settings and providing complementary therapy treatments for patients with a cancer diagnosis.

Courses include clinical placements across hospital and community health settings.

Details of course provision, which includes a NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapies that incorporates 100 hours of clinical practice, tutorials and clinical supervision, may be viewed here.

The School is part of The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre (SROMC) which provides a number of support services including the SROMC Complementary Therapy Service that, following referral by their healthcare professional, offers a range of complementary therapies (including Reiki, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Bowen Technique, Therapeutic Massage Therapy, Daoyin and Emmett therapy) to patients and their relatives and carers living in the Harrogate and Rural District who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis. 

The SROMC Complementary Therapy Service is funded through the charitable donations it receives and the gross profit generated through the NHS Natural Health School.

To read about another complementary therapy initiative, this time providing treatments (Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Massage and Reflexology) to patients diagnosed with cancer who live in the Fife and Perthshire areas of Scotland, search The Circle of Comfort charity website.

For further reading about CAM and cancer, please refer to my March 2018 blog.


Leading complementary therapists received their well-deserved complementary therapy awards at an event held at The Cumberland, Hotel, Marble Arch, London, on the 18th October 2018. 

The eye-catching and expertly presented event was organised and developed by Chamberlain Dunn Events in association with platinum sponsor The Federation of Holistic Therapists  (FHT) and media partner Health Radio and also The Professional Standards Authority. 

Listen to UK Health Radio’s special edition of Acupuncture Point in which presenter Kevin Durjun interviews some of the award nominees and winners and “learns about how they are transforming lives with their ground-breaking work”.

Also, take the opportunity to listen to, first, Jennifer Young, founder of Beauty Despite Cancer, and, secondly, to Dr Michael Dixon, who is the Chair of the College of Medicine and a GP practising at the Culm Valley Integrated Centre For Health in Devon, both being interviewed over the telephone by Robin Daly on his Yes to Life Show on UK Health Radio. During the interview, Dr Dixon discussed Social Prescribing (see section 5 of my December 2107 blog) and the vision and mission of the College of Medicine (including “thinking outside the box”) and the difference complementary medicine practitioners have made when working alongside conventional medicine practitioners. Among other things, Dr Dixon opined: 

‘… In future, as we start to expand our view of what local health involves and who needs to be included in that, I think complementary medicine will become a major influence not only in terms of individual treatment, but also in terms of improving local health within our communities…’

Supporters of the new awards included The College of Medicine, BCMA, Association of Reflexologists, NACTHPC, The British Reflexology Association, Association for Naturopathic PractitionersResearch Council for Complementary Medicine and Private Practice Hub.

The ceremony, preceded by a celebration lunch and following an opening address by Dr Michael Dixon, Chair of The College of Medicine, celebrated the inspiring achievements of UK therapists working to improve patient health and well-being whether working as a single-handed practitioner or within an organisation.

The overall winner was The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, which supports cancer patients and their families by providing funds to employ complementary therapists (healers) in the NHS and Hospices.

Gina Reinge of the Reinge Clinic was presented with the Award for pain management, injury prevention and rehabilitation for her work helping a woman suffering from the rare degenerative disease arachnoiditis to get moving again so she could walk without pain. 

The winner of the Award for mental health and well-being was Naji Malak, co-founder, and CEO of Stand Easy Military Support who has achieved great results by using a specialist form of acupuncture to help ex-service people deal with post traumatic stress disorder. 

The Award for palliative care went to Elaine Cooper, clinical lead specialist complementary therapies and Rachel Clark, lead complementary therapist palliative care, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust who are celebrating 25 years of providing complementary therapies in NHS palliative care, supported by charity in the beginning and now funded by NHS commissioning. 

The FHT Award for complementary therapy research was presented to Nicola Brough, clinic director, Torus Wellbeing Clinic, and Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor and Chair of Public Health, University of Warwick for their work in developing and validating the Warwick Holistic Health Questionnaire (a patient reported outcome measure) to assess changes in health and wellbeing of craniosacral therapy/CAM users.

The Award for furthering integrated healthcare was presented to Gwyn Featon by, education lead and Julie Crossman, complementary therapy lead, NHS Natural Health School, Harrogate, who provide complementary therapies for patients in the hospital’s chemotherapy and cancer centre. They are funded by charitable donations but are on NHS contracts. 

The Award for prevention and self-care was presented to Roberta Meldrum, Director of the Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living for their Positive Movement project to get older people on the move using a range of techniques that fit in with everyday life.

The Award for cancer care went to Angie Buxton-King, director of the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, for her work providing healing in hospitals and hospices. The charity donates funds to NHS cancer centres and hospices to employ practitioners of Reiki and Healing who are often then taken on by the NHS. For information about Angie Buxton-King’s latest book The NHS Healer: Onwards And Upwards refer to the final section of the College of Medicine Complementary Roundup March 2018.

A comprehensive Winners Guide together with a press release covering the event both issued by Chamberlain Dunn and including more information about the awards, their recipients, details of those presenting them, the finalists and the Judges may be viewed here and here.