Tag Archives: NHS

NHS Homeopathy – saved!

Homeopathy will continue to be available on the NHS, the government has said in response to a House of Commons science and technology committee report.

That report recommended that homeopathy should no longer be available on the NHS because of the lack of evidence of its efficacy.

Despite the NHS needing to make significant savings, the government responded that it was up to local clinicians to decide whether homeopathic treatments were appropriate.

The government says: “We believe in patients being able to make informed choices about their treatments, and in a clinician being able to prescribe the treatment they feel most appropriate in particular circumstances, within the regulatory and guidance frameworks by which they are bound.”

Follow the story here.

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Update on NHS funding of Osteopathy & Acupuncture

Following the publication of the NICE guidelines outlined in my previous entry I have had a number of queries asking how to get osteopathy & acupuncture on the NHS… to be quite honest I don’t know!

However, I did contact NICE and asked them directly; here is their reply;

“NICE is not directly involved in putting the recommendations made in our guidance into practice. This is the responsibility of individual local NHS bodies such as Primary Care Trusts and Hospital Trusts.

NICE does publish implementation tools, which give advice and support to those tasked with implementing our guidance. In the case of our clinical guideline on Low Back Pain, we will be publishing some tailored advice to commissioners in early August, which will address the specific challenges raised by this guidance. However, it is still up to local commissioners to interpret the guidance and decide on the best way to provide the service recommended in their area.

Therefore, the best way for you to find out how this guidance will be implemented in your area would be to contact your local primary care trust.”

So, there you have it. I have now contacted my local PCT (Enfield) for some guidance and will update the blog as details become available… watch this space.

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Osteopathy & Acupuncture on NHS

This month the papers are buzzing with news that National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence regarding the availability of osteopathy and acupuncture on the NHS. The Guardian notes that this move will cost the NHS £24.4m to provide acupuncture and another £16m for manipulative therapy. But £33.6m will be saved by stopping the practice of injecting therapeutic substances into people’s backs and £13.2m from reducing the number of sufferers sent for an MRI scan or X-ray. One could see this sudden interest in the alternatives as a cheap option but what ever the reason the incorporation of osteopathy and acupuncture can only elevate the profile of these safe and effective methods.
However, The Times did report positive outcomes in cases of cure chronic headaches back in March 2004. The study showed that acupuncture was as cost effective as other treatments offered by the NHS, so why has it taken so long for the policy makers to finally give patients this option?
Its still unclear just how a patient will be able to get osteopathy and acupuncture on the NHS – if the practitioner needs to be employed by the NHS or carry out the therapy in a NHS hospital or if the patient can visit the practitioners private clinic is still very unclear.
A good summary on this news story can be found on the website NHS Choices, click here to read more.

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Inflamed of not Inflamed – that is the question!

It’s my stomach, it’s bloated and painful I must have irritable bowel syndrome!
It’s becoming “in” to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Everybody is talking about it, there are special diets, pills and all sorts of treatments to cure it but one has to ask in the first instance; is it actually IBS?
Our clinic sees a lot of IBS and would be IBS cases. People find their way to us because many conventional measures just offer symptomatic ease at best. Most GP’s don’t follow the idea that diet or food allergy can be a cause opting, to prescribe medications simply aimed at relaxing the bowel. I feel their time should be spent trying to relax their patient since so many cases of true IBS are stress related or anxiety induced. However, the fact remains that IBS is affecting more and more of us. Estimates have IBS affecting 10-20% of the population and it is twice as common in women than in men. This estimate, however, does not take into account those cases who do not present themselves to their GP.
The worrying factor with IBS is that many of it’s symptoms are common to other more serious gut and abdominal disorders. In women early stage ovarian cancer may give symptoms of bloating or even just a feeling of “fullness”. Even though ovarian cancer tends to hit the over 65’s it can strike at any age. The other worry is that IBS may also mimic early stage inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. These bowel problems may not cause the classic set of inflammatory signs early on and can be mistaken for IBS, which is not a pathological problem at all. Cases of true IBS are free of pathological bowel changes, it general is a functional disorder of muscular tone triggered off by emotional distress or aggravated by foods that irritate the lining of the bowel.
Getting a diagnosis of IBS should be fairly straight forward now. Worries over ovarian cancer can be settled by a good medical history may be a pelvic ultrasound scan and in some cases a simple blood test for the marker known as CA125. When it comes to the inflammatory bowel problems things may get a bit more invasive in those cases that are not so clear cut. A colonoscopy involves inserting a fiber optic camera into the bowel for a good look about. This tends to be very diagnostic but in those with inflammatory changes beyond the reach of the camera the inflammation may be missed. However, help is at hand. A relatively new stool (pooh) analysis, pioneered at Kings College Hospital, taken along side a clinical assessment looks to be the way forward. Known as faecal calprotectin, (click here 1, 2, 3, for more background) this test will detect those cases missed by colonoscopy and help firm up the diagnosis once and for all. It is available through the NHS or for a private fee of around £70-£80. We can get the test done through Hadley Wood Healthcare for £75.00 – all we need it a pooh sample, but call us first.
Once irritable bowel has been confirmed there is a lot we can do. A course of enteric coated Acidophilus and Bifidus bacteria replacement therapy (known as Acidophilus Pearls) is important along side some simple dietary changes. Anxiety and stress need to be addressed, for this we use Elthea-100 containing the green tea amino acid known as L-theanine. A lot can be done but much of our work is on an individual basis. If you are troubled by your bowels we may be able to help in more ways than one.

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