Future of Integrated Therapy Provision – A personal perspective.

The Integrated Care Bill is expected to become Law in March 2022 this will bring about a great many changes to NHS healthcare provision going forward. The progress of this bill is no surprise to me as in 2018  I attended a conference at The Kings Fund London where the keynote speakers Sir Sam Etherington and Dr Michael Dixon LVO OBE illustrated how integrated care and social prescribing would shape future healthcare. Discussions focused on holistic approaches and the role of complementary therapies. Therapists were encouraged to approach their local primary healthcare providers (GP’s) with proposals to offer their services. I left the conference filled with enthusiasm. My personal experience is that the integration of evidenced modalities of complementary therapy offer cost effective routes for increasing patient satisfaction whilst supporting Medical/Clinical NHS staff. Wishing to gain a deeper understanding of how integration might work in practice In 2019 I attended The College of Medicine & Integrated Health (chair Dr Dixon)  Foundation Course. This experience left me feeling that therapies (e.g acupuncture) were being “sold” to the medical profession as fast track training opportunities to provide “quick fix” solutions. 

I have been very fortunate that since 2014 I have been granted an honorary contract to develop and deliver a charity funded complementary therapy Clinical Reflexology CR service for cancer patients attending NHS Dorset County Hospital. My extensive data support the beneficial effects of CR use for both patients and staff within the hospital. The NHS recognise some therapies and allied health care workers that are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council HCPC. NHS England cites 14 allied healthcare professions that make integrated care a reality. Art therapists, Drama therapists, Music Therapists, Chiropodists/podiatrists, Dietitians, Occupational therapists, Operating department practitioners, Orthoptists, Osteopaths, Paramedics, Physiotherapists, Prosthetists and Orthotists Radiographers, Speech & language therapists. Their role is to improve care for patients, streamline services, and support NHS staff all of which CR is evidenced as doing.

My thoughts are, for CR practitioners to be eligible for HCPC membership existing training would need to be escalated to degree status. As a self -employed Complementary Therapist holding a BSc degree in Interprofessional Health and Social Studies and over 30yrs of experience of working in private practice and clinical settings. I have always valued my membership of professional governing bodies. The AoR –  Association of Reflexologists, CThA – Complementary Therapy Association, RCCM- Research Council for Complementary Medicine and the FHT – Federation of Holistic Therapists that operate a register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. These all provide a code of conduct / practice, operate registers and public liability insurance. For full membership therapists must provide proof of qualification status and in some cases a sponsor/references. This level of governance in the private sector bodes well for ensuring that the public are protected and that their choice of therapist can be made with confidence. I am a qualified and insured City and Guilds Tutor and Assessor which enables me to design and deliver training courses both in the public (colleges) and the private sector. Having just delivered my final accredited CPD face to face PCR training course for 2021 I realise there is much need for the in-depth subject knowledge provided via CPD. I am developing more advanced training for reflexologists and other therapists.  Future courses will be advertised on my website.