Report calls for complementary, traditional and natural medicine to rescue NHS from financial crisis


A new report released by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare (PGIH) warns that the growing number of people suffering from long-term illness poses significant threats to the future sustainability of the NHS.

The report, titled ‘Integrated healthcare: putting the pieces together’, is based on the findings of an extensive consultation carried out by the PGIH in 2017, to which a detailed response was submitted by the FHT. It urges the government to embrace complementary, traditional and natural medicine to ease the mounting burden being placed on the NHS.

The report stresses that the rising costs to the health system require a more person-centred approach to health delivery, which focuses on prevention and tackles the root cause of illness.

It highlights that many more patients now suffer from multi-morbidity (two or more long-term health conditions) than when the NHS was formed 70 years ago, with the number of people in England with one or more long-term condition projected to increase to around 18 million by 2025.

Furthermore, it is estimated that 70% of total health expenditure on health and care in England is associated with treating 30% of the population with one or more long-term condition.

A further consequence of complex health conditions is the growing problem of polypharmacy, where several drugs are used at the same time. The report stresses that this is arguably one of the biggest threats to the future economic viability of the NHS, with increasing costs of pharmaceutical drugs needed to treat patients with multiple illnesses, coupled with largely unknown effects of the long-term use of these drugs in combination.

The PGIH report argues that the government needs to devise a strategy to fully assess the degree of drug interactions, determine the long-term health effects on patients, and arrest the trend of over medicating the population.

A significant part of this strategy would be to treat each patient as a whole person, with individual needs, rather than treating any presenting illnesses separately. As such, the report recommends that the strategy should make greater use of natural, traditional and complementary therapies, which are widely used to support people affected by a variety of conditions. It also highlights the huge under-utilised resource of professional therapists, who could work in collaboration with conventional medicine to improve patient outcomes and ease the burden on the NHS.

Modern medicine has been very effective in tackling many of the health conditions we face today. However, there are areas, often called effectiveness gaps (EGs), where available treatments in modern clinical practice are not fully effective, with the likes of depression, eczema, allergies, chronic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome being frequently cited.

The report urges that for these types of conditions, a different approach is needed, which does not involve giving more and more costly but potentially ineffective drugs.

David Tredinnick MP, Chair of the PGIH, insisted that the current approach being taken by the government is unsustainable for the long-term future of the country.

‘Despite positive signs that ministers are proving open to change, words must translate into reality. For some time our treasured NHS has faced threats to its financial sustainability and to common trust in the system.

‘Multi-morbidity is more apparent now in the UK than at any time in our recent history. As a trend it threatens to swamp a struggling NHS, but the good news is that many self-limiting conditions can be treated at home with the most minimal of expert intervention.

‘Other European governments facing similar challenges have considered the benefits of exploring complementary, traditional and natural medicines. If we are to hand on our most invaluable institution to future generations, so should we.’

Access the full report

Here’s to a happy 2019


Action for Happiness (AFH) suggests we all try to make 2019 as joyful as possible from the start, with its Happy New Year Calendar for January.

AFH publishes monthly calendars, offering daily affirmations on the theme of the respective month. The ‘Happy New Year Calendar’ follows ‘Do Good December’, ‘New Things November’, ‘Optimistic October’, ‘Self-care September’, ‘Altruistic August’, ‘Jump Back July’, ‘Joyful June’, ‘Meaningful May’, ‘Active April’, ‘Mindful March’,  and ‘Friendly February’.’

Suggestions for this month include the following:

  • Find three good things to look forward to this year
  • Say something positive to everyone you meet today
  • Learn something new and share it with others
  • Eat healthy food that really nourishes you today
  • Challenge your negative thoughts and look for the upside.

Download the calendar

Top fitness trends for 2019

Wearable technology.jpg

Wearable technology is expected to be the top fitness trend of 2019, according to a worldwide survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Identifying 20 trends that will shape the global fitness industry in the year ahead, the ACSM surveyed more than 2,000 health and fitness experts, who were asked to rank 39 possible trends.

Results from the survey, now in its 13th year, showed that wearable technology climbed two places from 2018, where it was listed as the third most important trend. Other trends that round off the top five for 2019 are group training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), fitness programmes for adults and bodyweight training.

The full list of 2019 trends:

1. Wearable technology

2. Group training

3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

4. Fitness programmes for older adults

5. Bodyweight training

6. Employing certified fitness professionals

7. Yoga

8. Personal training

9. Functional fitness training

10. Exercise is medicine

11. Health/wellness coaching

12. Exercise for weight loss

13. Mobile exercise apps

14. Mobility/myofascial devices

15. Worksite health promotion and workplace wellbeing programmes

16. Outcome measurements

17. Outdoor activities

18. Licensure for fitness professionals

19. Small group personal training

20. Post-rehabilitation classes

Access the full report




Dr Chatterjee looks at foot health in new podcast

Dr Chatterjee1.jpgIn this latest instalment of his Feel Better, Live More podcast series, GP, Author and TV presenter, Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks to Nick and Mike from The Foot Collective, a group of Canadian physical therapists on a mission to help people reclaim strong, functional and pain-free feet through foot health education.

Dr Chatterjee says that Nick and Mike ‘believe that there are many ailments that many of us just write off as something that we just have, or that we’ve inherited, yet in actual fact, there may be something we can do to improve these conditions. The truth is, that while we might have a genetic susceptibility, our environment and our lifestyles also determine what happens to our bodies.’


Rangan talks about how he looked at his feet to address a problem and asks whether genetics play a part in foot problems? Other highlights include a discussion on the difference between movement and exercise, addressing sedentary behaviour in children, improving hip function easily at home and tips and exercises to have healthy mobility in the future.

Listen to the podcast

Read an interview with Dr Chatterjee in the Winter 2018 issue of International Therapist

Hypnotherapy highlighted by Metro


Daily newspaper, Metro, highlights the use of hypnotherapy for fertility and the Accredited Register in a recent article on its website.

The article discusses whether hypnosis improves the odds of conception, saying that ‘research has shown that hypnotherapy tends to work for around 72% of people in relation to fertility’.

Furthermore, a fertility expert quoted in the article says that they recommend hypnotherapy to clients because of ‘it’s ability to change our outlook’, which in turn ‘releases brain chemicals that support fertility and our nervous system to operate from feed or breed (rather than fight or flight, which is a response to danger)’.

The article quite rightly highlights the importance of finding a suitably qualified hypnotherapist and suggests that readers search for a practitioner through an Accredited Register,  approved by the Professional Standards Authority, such as FHT’s Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register.

Access the full article



Do good things this December


Spreading good will through acts of kindness is the theme of Action for Happiness’ (AFH) Do Good December’ action calendar.

AFH publishes monthly calendars, offering daily affirmations on the theme of the respective month. ‘Do Good December’ follows ‘New Things November’, ‘Optimistic October’, ‘Self-care September’, ‘Altruistic August’, ‘Jump Back July’, ‘Joyful June’, ‘Meaningful May’, ‘Active April’, ‘Mindful March’, ‘Friendly February’ and ‘Happy January.’

Suggestions for this month include the following:

  • Support a charity, cause or campaign you really care about
  • Listen wholeheartedly to others without judging them
  • Treat everyone with kindness, including yourself
  • Visit an elderly neighbour and brighten up their day
  • Be kind to the planet. Eat less meat and use less energy.

Download the calendar

UK doctors at greater risk of anxiety than the public

GP mental health

A growing body of evidence indicates that GPs need more support from the wider workforce, due to the increasing demands of their job and the toll this takes on their health and wellbeing.

The latest report by the Society of Occupational Medicine and The Louise Tebboth Foundation found evidence to suggest that UK doctors are at greater risk of work-related stress, burnout, depression and anxiety than the general public. The risk of suicide is also high compared to the general population.

Mental health problems among doctors are on the rise, alongside increasing demands, lack of support, a faster pace of work, lack of autonomy and diminishing resources. GPs and junior doctors are said to be the worst affected, often experiencing burnout early on in their career.

The report also suggests that current working conditions could have major implications on patient health.

Access the full report