It will not have escaped the notice of readers that when I refer to the “The College of Medicine” or to“the College” I should, to be correct, use the full title of “The College of Medicine and Integrated Health”. Even a cursory examination of the College’s website will identify the diverse range of healthcare issues that it so effectively explores and promotes.
Below, among other things, I focus on the terms “Integrated Health” and “Integrated Medicine” from the perspective of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
EFFECTIVE HEALTHCARE: EMBRACING A RANGE OF TREATMENTS
Practitioners and patients of CAM have always known that the provision of effective healthcare is about more than prescribing so-called “orthodox” or “conventional” drugs and treatments, however beneficial some of these may be [Note: the British Medical Journal Clinical Evidence efficacy categorisations have been discontinued: refer to my December 2017 blog].
It is also about clinicians, policymakers, commentators and others keeping an open mind.
CAM practitioners advocate the theme that “one size does not fit all” when treating their patients. It is interesting to note that this is a theme increasingly being adopted, although regrettably still to a limited extent, in UK public sector policy initiatives guiding conventional medicine services, particularly in the context of “personalised” health and care and “personal commissioning”. For more detail review my December 2017 blog (INTEGRATED PERSONAL COMMISSIONING AND PERSONAL HEALTH BUDGETS: PROVIDING NHS PATIENTS WITH CAM?) and see below.
The above progress towards the ‘personal’ is, I suggest, indicative of a very gradual harmonisation between conventional and complementary medicine that underpins the concept of Integrated/integrative healthcare and medicine.
The support for “harmony” in a broader sense, including for the protection of the environment, as well as in relation to healthcare, is increasingly receiving public recognition. This, as I describe below, is reflected in media reports about healing and CAM initiatives.
A long-term advocate of harmony is HRH Prince Charles The Prince of Wales. Readers may wish to refer to his book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at our World, a blueprint for a more balanced, sustainable world that the human race must create to survive.
The College of Medicine also facilitates Upcoming harmony in Living Workshops.
A FRESH APPROACH TO HEALTHCARE: SOCIAL PRESCRIBING
An example of this flexible, open-minded, more balanced and “harmonious” approach to healthcare is the Social Prescribing initiative. I refer readers to the College of Medicine’s website, to Dr Michael Dixon’s YouTube presentation relating to the Social Prescription Day held on 14.03.19 and to:
- Section 5 of my December 2017 blog headed SOCIAL PRESCRIBING: HEALTH CREATION AS A COMMUNITY SERVICE and
- Section 15 of my October 2018 blog headed ROYAL COLLEGE OF GENERAL PRACTITIONERS (RCGP) CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO FACILITATE ‘SOCIAL PRESCRIBING’ FOR ALL PRACTICES: PRACTICES AND UK HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE LEGISLATION AND POLICY SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THE ROLE OF CAM IN SOCIAL PRESCRIBING.
See also the Times newspaper reports:
- May 8th 2018, page 29: Social Prescribing: A GP’s surgery can do much more to help the lonely by bringing in the voluntary sector;
- November 6th 2018, page 14: Doctors to treat sick with a dose of art and culture.
BBC News coverage may be found here.
CAM services could be a valuable and integrative part of Social Prescribing (SP). GPs and SP Link Workers will, hopefully, facilitate this potential.
The College of Medicine is collaborating in a two-day conference Second International Social Prescribing Network Conference: ‘From system to local’ on 11th and 12th July 2019 for which a booking may be made here.
INTEGRATIVE HEALTH AND INTEGRATED MEDICINE: DEFINED
Below is a definition quoted from the article Integrated Medicine – An Approach to Optimum Health; Removing Divisions in Health Care by Dr Rajendra Sharma MB BCh BAO LRCP&S (Ire) MFHom that was published in Positive Health PH Online Issue 240 August 2017:
‘…Integrated Medicine (IM) unites orthodox, drug-led medicine, with the safe and effective alternatives provided by complementary medicine. It recognises and considers the use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches from both conventional and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). This imbues IM with a vast variety of healthcare specialities and disciplines, all with the aim of achieving healing and ultimately returning a patient to optimal health through the restoration of function…’
Readers may wish to review two recent and most welcome publications:
- Integrated Healthcare: Putting the Pieces Together (December 2018) published by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare (PGIH) and
- A blueprint for health system sustainability in the UK: Towards a bottom-up solution to the impending health and care crises (December 2018) published by The Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl). The sections of this comprehensive Consensus Paper that are especially relevant to CAM may be found at page 86 and pages 99 to112.
Both publications are covered in more detail on page one of my February 2019 blog. The PGIH publication has been reviewed by, among others, The Faculty of Homeopathy, the Society of Homeopaths and Integrated Complementary Alternative Medicine. The ANH-Intl Consensus Paper is reviewed by, among others, The Confederation of Healing Organisations. A six-minute video overview of the Paper is available here.
Refer also to the comprehensive (at 193 pages) Smallwood Report 2005 (The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the NHS) commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales including, at page 7, the statement by the (then) President of the General Medical Council, Professor Sir Graeme Catto. Refer to my February 2017 blog for more detail.
Further reading about Integrative Medicine may be found in:
- The Integrative Medicine Collection: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine; Medical Acupuncture; Alternative and Complementary Therapies; The Journal of Medicinal Food;
- The open access journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM);
- Online research updates on the website of Positive Health Online;
- The Elsevier publications Advances in Integrative Medicine and the European Journal of Integrative Medicine and by accessing British Medical Journal articles such as Complementary therapies for labour and birth study: a randomised controlled trial of antenatal integrative medicine for pain management in labour (as amended).
Retired GP, Jeremy Swayne, talks of his experience of using homeopathy in his general practice in a short video from the UK Faculty of Homeopathy posted on the Homeopathy Plus website (last modified on 27.02.19), which may be viewed here.
AN INTERVIEW WITH AN INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE DOCTOR: DR ALISON GRIMSTONE
Rob Verkerk BSc MSc DIC PhD FACN the Founder, Executive & Scientific Director of the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl) interviews Dr Alison Grimst on MBBS BSc MPhil DRCOG MRCGP DFFP who he describes as:
“one of the UK’s trailblazing integrative medicine doctors specialising in hormone balance and bioidentical hormones”.
‘…In terms of the health service, the fundamental approach needs to change – from a ‘fixing’ approach of doctors ‘making’ (which sounds very forceful) people better to one of being a catalyst, empowering and inspiring people to take steps to heal themselves. The current approach, dependent on medication and surgery alone, is costly and tends to bring about temporary relief. In addition, it leads to burned out doctors and healthcare professionals who have given their all and can do so no more…’