Whilst the NHS still tops the poll of what makes people most proud to be British, and remains the ‘jewel in the UK’s welfare crown‘, it is somewhat ironic that that the NHS, despite its remarkable history and it being probably the world’s fifth largest employer, is splitting at the seams and may be close to collapse.

Both Derek Wanless back in 2002 and more recently, The King’s Fund described the NHS as a ‘disease management service’, which was on a financial cliff edge, and needed very substantial increases in resources for health and social care. The NHS spends billions of pounds a year on prescribed medicines which was criticised in a House of Commons Health Committee report, which described the Department of Health as, “unable to prioritise the interests of patients and public health over the interests of the pharmaceutical industry.”

More money or time for change?

Just to keep this near-broken service going will require increases in taxation, or more of the proceeds of growth to fund it; one idea would be to extend national insurance for people over 65, as life expectancy is now over 80!

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS has been meeting with experts to gather evidence on how to secure a long-term future for healthcare. While, many of the experts presenting to the committee have called for a paradigm shift to take place to save the NHS, it’s unlikely given past performance that these will involve the kind of sea change that is really needed if the system is to be fixed from the ground up, which should also involve taking drastic action to take pressure off it. That means dealing with disease prevention outside the healthcare system itself, not focusing only on disease management within it.

Demand for the NHS is rising, but satisfaction with it is falling! The increasing elderly population living between 12 and 20 years with disability is starting to overwhelm the NHS, so do we throw more money at this disease management system or does British society warrant a completely new approach to healthcare. It is also possible that the British public’s vote for Brexit in June last year provides the ideal timing to make these changes. That’s our view and is a central part of the strategy with which we’re working at ANH-Intl this year.

Any solution to the challenges faced by the NHS monolith involves looking as much outside the NHS as inside it — and reducing demand for its services. For too long the public has been misled by scientists, the food industry, the Department of Health and other health authorities, and it’s imperative that we move from a diseases care model to a disease preventation, wellness-based and individualised approach where each person is responsible for his or her own healthcare, with a full range of healthcare options available.

Central to this approach is increasing effective self-care, natural health and getting individuals directly engaged in their own healthcare. Education is key, but is not enough on its own. We have to ‘up our game’ on obesity, and develop a more realistic consensus over what the real underlying causes are of today’s still escalating incidence of chronic disease and mental health issues. Lord McColl of Dulwich argues that we should hold no punches and spell out the risks like the public information film on AIDS in 1986.

 

 

Fix it if it’s broke

We need a community based healthcare system that can help guide as many as people as possible, encouraging them to make the right choices to optimise their wellness. As it happens, this healthcare workforce is ready and waiting – it’s just dramatically under-utilised and marginalised by the mainstream healthcare system and the government authorities that support the pharmaceutical industry, seen as  major contributor to the economy.  But that’s only if you don’t measure the societal cost of long-term chronic disease and the decreasing age of disability as people succumb to an ever broader array of chronic diseases and mental health problems.

In the UK, it’s estimated that around 9 million people use some kind of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) and in the EU generally there are around 328,000 registered CAM providers made up of about 178,000 non-medical practitioners and 150,000 medical doctors.

There’s a real need for better integration of these forms of healthcare into mainstream offerings, something that is more common practice in Germany and France than it is in the UK.

We need a lot more doctors like Rangan Chatterjee who has demonstrated on BBC TV that the ‘scourge’ of type 2 diabetes doesn’t require metformin or other drugs, and can be reversed in 30 days through a change in diet and lifestyle. As Dr Chatterjee forcefully explains in his TEDx in Liverpool UK, we need to “make diseases disappear” or at least get to them earlier in their cycle.

Individuals would be further empowered to take care of their health by using technology. Engaging individuals in their personal health journey using mobile apps will allow that individual to use his or her own health data to support positive behaviour change. Increasing ‘patient activation levels’, meaning that an individual makes informed health choices and manages their medical conditions, considerably lowers overall care costs. This is another project we at ANH-Intl are involved in with an international collaboration.

ANH International is making this happen

At ANH-Intl, we’re working hard to help bring about the greatly needed paradigm shift in healthcare. We’re doing this is by getting broad consensus and meeting the huge need for healthcare choice and natural health among the public, and one of the ways is through our work with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Integrated Healthcare chaired by David Tredinnick MP for Bosworth.

In a partnership with integrative cancer care charity Yes to Life, ANH-Intl brought together in London 10 healthcare thought-leaders from around the world under the banner Nuhealth2. These doctors, researchers and health experts were tasked with finding fresh ways to resolve the deepening crisis in mainstream healthcare. All of this is being brought together in a single position paper that will form the basis of our strategy moving forward.

Call to action for UK citizens

  • Arrange a face to face interview with your Member of Parliament to express your concerns of the NHS in its present state, and why it’s so important to remove obstacles to freedom of healthcare and natural health choice. Find your local MP
  • Please donate to ANH-Intl as our supporters are the life-blood of the work we do at ANH-Intl for your benefit.

 

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Comments

  1. Few can argue that our NHS is in dire straits. Some believe, this is a deliberate attempt by politicians, lobbyists and other interested parties to move away from a publicly funded system of healthcare, to an insurance based model, in line with what is already available in the US, where a world class system of healthcare will still be available, but only to those whom can afford the private insurance premiums. For everyone else, the funding which we continue to provide through general taxation will gradually cover less and less.

    In the words of the founder of our NHS, Aneurin Bevan, “The NHS will last for as long as there are folk willing to fight for it” and on this basis, despite declarations of love for our NHS, it would appear that e vast majority of the British people are quite happy to see the NHS disintegrate and slowly demolished. Politicians work for the people, rather than the other way around and it is hi time the people started holding them to account.

    Given that the British people are paying for it, I believe it is the British people whom should decide what kind of healthcare system they want. The approach of consulting a panel of so called “experts”, again falls into the trap of concen rating the decision making process into the hands of a few, making it easy for the lobbyists and special interest groups to apply influence on the decision makers and look wher that has got us.

    As the article identifies, BREXIT presents an excellent opportunity for change in Britain, but not the kind of change envisaged by our politicians and other interested parties, which I believe will include the abolishment of our NHS as we know it, of corporation tax, regulation of the financial services industry and further dependence on it and the city of London corporation for economic growth. Evidently, the designers of this plan have not considered the Tax Justice Networks research on “The finance curse” http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Finance_Curse_Final.pdf

    Rather than spending resources challenging the decision to Brexit in the courts, further lining the pockets of a few “experts”, the British people could direct the politicians and demand the kind of change that will benefit the people, rather than large, multi national corporations and mega rich individuals.

    The decision, lays entirely in the hands of the British people

    1. You’re right Dillon. We need to get the message to people that individuals need to take responsibility for their own health and stop relying on ‘magic’ pill solutions. Thank you for taking the time to comment and support our work.

      Warm Regards
      Melissa

  2. Educating people needs to start early in life – so it is important that Diet and Lifestyle are taught seriously at schools – possible with examinations at GCSE level. Bring back Domestic Science/Home Economics/Cookery for EVERYONE so young people understand what carbs and proteins are. I have not forgotten what I learned at school in the 50’s.

    We also need better training at Medical School for Doctors in Diet and Lifestyle. Being on a Forum for over 50,000 Thyroid sufferers and one for B12 Deficiency/PA I am appalled at the lack of knowledge at GP level. Also the people that control how Docs work needs overhauling – Guidelines prevent them from thinking outside the box and treating for the benefit of the patient rather than being rewarded for prescribing drugs. NICE and all the various bodies – RCP – BHF – BTA and so on are tainted by Big Pharma. GP’s are in fear of losing their licences to practice and many have said so.

    Patients are being referred for endless expensive testing and incorrect treatments because the correct basic testing is NOT being done initially. Blood test results are only as good as the people looking at them – and the word * Normal * is used when people are just in range – when higher in the range would create optimal health. Thyroid testing is inadequate at GP level so people are constantly missed and offered anti-depressants. The same with B12. Look at the work of Martyn Hooper – and his recent New Years Honour award for his endless work in trying to bring better understanding of B12 Deficiency/PA to both Government and GP’s. Something that every GP should learn about at Med School. Sadly not. The Pernicious Anaemia Society website is so very informative.

    I live in Greece where the system is in chaos – albeit I can go to the next village for my blood tests of my choosing to monitor my thyroid levels myself – results returned with two days – printed up for me to keep. We keep all our own records – maybe this is one way of creating responsibilty. A small charge at A&E is also routine. Private healthcare is affordable and can be mixed with the government sponsored care. ( Only available currently whilst the UK is part of Europe ! ) So a blood test form can be completed by a GP for free tests and then we can add the others needed and pay for them privately. Taking the form ourselves to the lab nearby. Unlike the UK where labs can refuse to test for the FT3 if the TSH is in range – WHAT UTTER NONESENSE ……

    I could write a book – apologies for the ramble !

    1. We totally agree Marlene. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, we much appreciate it.

      Warm Regards
      Melissa

  3. I think that its fairly obvious that for as long as we provide a free health service to people who have not paid into the system we will have a severe financial crisis within that system.

  4. I think education is the key, and it must start at the local community level. I am hoping to start a group focusing on self help for healthy lives in my village. Many people are totally unaware of what is happening behind the scenes to manipulate them into making profits for corporate companies. So Education, education education. It may mean sticking our heads above the parapet and being ready for some flak!

  5. We will never solve the problems in the NHS by throwing more money at it, we have been doing that for the past few decades, we need to get rid of the scandalous waste! My husband worked for the NHS for 20 years and says that the whole system needs overhauling but no one in government has the guts to touch it. The last Labour government spent a fortune on the NHS but all on the wrong things like buildings, which has put the NHS in deep debt which it will never be able to repay. To use a ‘microcosmic’ example, our local hospital has had a new university medical training centre which has Italian marble floors and resembles a Saudi hotel, it built a library, gym and swimming pool for the doctors (not available for use by patients) and spent a huge amount of their budget on a granite smoking shed which has since been demolished. It spends millions on management consultants whose ideas are replaced every 10 years, we pay £140 an hour on GP locums, some locums can earn up to £400.000 a year and we are ripped off by pharmaceutical companies that can charge what they want for drugs. All referrals to alternative practitioners, like acupuncturists have been stopped from our local GP surgery and we now have to go through a ‘clearing system’ by the practice nurse before we can even make an appointment. Yes, education is the key but we have had decades since the formation of the NHS where we have been ‘programmed’ to believe that it will look after us from cradle to grave, the original ‘nanny state’ and now we are being told that nanny wont do it any more! The whole system needs a complete overhaul and that includes training and educating the GPs as they are on the base line of the NHS and have first contact with patients.

    1. 100% agree with your sentiments, Pauline. My son is a surgeon in the NHS and we know a lot of doctors in the system. There are some incredible human beings among the 1.7 million people employed by the NHS – and it’s a travesty that some of the most fundamental problems with it are never addressed. They are now part of the fabric – and a complete overhaul is long overdue. We’re still jot convinced that Teresa May has an interest in doing this – unless a huge amount of pressure is brought to bear. Among the triggers that may get the current government to initiate the overhaul is a revolution by doctors, nurses and other essential staff within the NHS. And an increasing number, fortunately, are beginning to get restless….

  6. The systemic distortion regarding health is mirroring that of wholeness.
    A fragmented and dissociated ‘mind’ operates against wholeness and health by assigning cause or responsibility AWAY from active choices and thus giving CAUSE to symptoms and bringing more coercion or attempts to deny symptoms without opening to true Cause.
    The nature of consciousness is in our Face as Experience – but our defining and interpreting in terms of a split mind between victimhood and coercive power, results in profiting from investment in sickness and conflict while effectively undermining and invalidating support for healing and the sanity or peace of our being.

    So there is a ‘mind’ disconnect which cannot be true – for a disconnection from wholeness of being is meaningless EXCEPT to the mind of the wish to subject life to power and the belief one is thus subjected.

    The power of belief is not something ‘added’ to the personality – but the very structuring of that personality. We experience such beliefs as ‘reality’ until they are brought to question. The narrative control of ‘reality’ operates out of a sense of fear of pain or loss and seems absolutely hard-wired as ‘survival’, but many who are graced to pause from reaction from such fear, open to a subtler presence of guidance and support that aligns them in finding or being found in what they need, as they are willing to accept it.
    No one can ‘educate’ another in what they are as yet unwilling to accept, but we can create and invite the conditions where education can occur – and so this is what we have to learn to facilitate in ourselves – so as to be able to extend the same to others.
    Health is not just ‘physical’ any more than our being is just ‘physical’ – however what we embody does matter to us!
    Falsely framed thinking embodies conflicted outcomes.
    This is written outside the box to a willingness for a greater perspective – which is never in anyone’s words but in one’s own recognition of resonance and current relevance. THIS is our response-ability; to recognize and align in what feels true to a core honesty of being. Others may serve as advisers, sounding boards and supporters – but they cannot make us (any of us) accept wholeness of being. Nor can we make ourselves what we already are – but unconsciously in denial of – and socially reinforced in such ‘reality’.
    An insane world is not the ‘world’ – but a reflection of the mind that ‘makes’ it. Rather than using that idea for ‘guilting the victim’, use it to awaken curiosity as to sanity that rises as the releasing of the ‘insane’ or out of true beliefs and definitions that effectively cover over awareness of being – with self-invalidating thought about our self and world.
    Meanwhile, honesty to our current beliefs cannot pretend them away and so whatever methodologies work remain helpful within a movement of re-education and re-habilitation. For our true belonging is not a disconnected mind seeking outside itself. Rather we can own to the sense of dissonance and disconnect – and be curious as to how we are generating this – both individually and collectively. Then do something more truly aligned with who you are.

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