This week we speak to Dr Toh Wong, a practising GP, acupuncturist, hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner. Dr Wong will be speaking at the 2019 FHT Training Congress about how to get into GP practices.
Tell us a bit of background about yourself…
I am a medical doctor, graduating from the University of Leicester Medical School in 2001, and a GP since 2006. I work as a GP Principal and GP Trainer at the Westbank Practice, a semi-rural practice in Devon, near Exeter. Over the last 10 years, I have learned and practice acupuncture, NLP and hypnosis regularly both in my practice and privately.
In 2018, I organised the Integrative Health Convention, a showcase of different complementary and conventional therapists, attended by doctors and complementary therapists to begin connecting doctors and therapists with each other and appreciating the work that each does in their respective fields. This was done in association with the College of Medicine of which I now have the honour of being a council member.
I also run courses under Neurolinguistic Healthcare Ltd in advanced communication skills and therapeutic techniques for healthcare professionals.
Give us an insight in to your normal day-to-day schedule…
I work full-time as a GP. As GPs, we see on average 40 patients a day. Fortunately, I tend to see only 30 patients a day in my lovely semi-rural practice but can have up to over 40 contacts a day. This includes morning and afternoon clinics and home visits in between. During this time, I see conditions varying from simple colds and sore throats (rare) to musculoskeletal conditions (20-30%), and have to deal with detecting cancers, test results, dealing with hospital letters, minor surgery, and palliative care, as well as long-term care including heart and lung conditions, and dementia. We also see many children. All, utilising a holistic approach to healthcare.
To have enough time, it is important to keep interests varied and attention focused by practices such as exercise and meditation which I do daily.
What interests you outside of work?
I love spending time with my nine-year-old son and enjoying nature in Devon. Learning takes up a lot of my time and I enjoy learning new skills and taking in different viewpoints immensely to improve care for my patients. Organising the Integrative Health Convention and our courses and managing the long hours at work takes up the rest of my time.
What is your Training Congress seminar about?
From my varied interests in different forms of complementary therapy, I noticed some complementary therapists struggling to make ends meet despite their good intentions of helping people with their skills, and so I created a guide as to how to get noticed and more referrals from doctors, particularly from GPs who every patient in the UK is registered with. As GPs are often the first port of call for many patients, this would be an ideal place to start getting referrals from. I have tested this method and it has worked and been found to be useful.
What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?
From my contact with complementary therapists, I realised that their skills can be very beneficial to patients and that not knowing about the many therapies out there could mean doing a disservice to our patients. In fact, it is in the medical school curriculum to be aware of the different types of complementary therapies, yet knowledge of this is still lacking. Thus, my topic will introduce complementary therapists to how to get in the GP door, give something useful to them, educate them, and in return possibly get referrals or recommendations from GPs in the hope that all of us can work together for the good of the patient.
What will attendees of your seminar expect to come away with?
I have a step by step approach on how to get into GP practices and what they want to hear to make the most use of this unique opportunity. This will save them time effort, and money to avoid useless marketing materials and really do something that works.
They can also ask questions to a full-time practising GP with a unique insight into both worlds – that of complementary therapy and conventional medicine.
Are there any other seminars in the programme which look particularly interesting to you?
I like Dr Deepa Apte’s Ayurveda talks as she is a wonderful speaker and teacher who spoke at the 2018 Integrative Health Convention. Also, I think meditation is extremely useful and evidence-based for today’s busy world. I do prefer a type of concentrative meditation rather than guided but all of it is a start to greater awareness of the power of these techniques. I also think trigger points are an important concept in manual therapies and I am glad this is being covered. Overall, it seems a varied programme that would be useful to all attendees.
What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?
Have an open mind and good relationships with the GP or Medical Team around you – all of us are working towards the same thing, the wellbeing of the patient in front of us (although it might not always seem that way to both parties).
Join us at the 2019 FHT Training Congress from Sunday 19 to Monday 20 May at the Holistic Health Show, NEC Birmingham.
For more details about the talks and to book, visit fht.org.uk/congress