There are two types of healthcare; crisis intervention of emergency situations, and daily maintenance of a strong yet susceptible physical body.
As NH21 Weekly embarks on another controversial discussion around global health, let us first clarify that access to affordable and effective medical care is the right of all people; and that we can be grateful for medical advances that treat disease and save the lives of those in need.
Is there a point at which care might be refused to the individual, in order to protect the many?
As dastardly Donald seeks to implement his “repeal and replace” non-policy of healthcare in the US, and Britain’s NHS risks collapse under the weight of astronomical running costs that dwarf the GDP of many countries; NH21 is reminded of the ‘tenets’ of naturopathic medicine that inspired this natural health practitioner’s vocation in life.
Among them are:
- Prevention rather than cure – try to not get sick in the first place.
- Identify the cause – before treating the effect.
And it appears as though others are coming around to a similar rationale, as Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England (an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health), this week announces that;
“The NHS is to stop giving patients travel vaccinations, gluten-free foods and some drugs that can be bought over the counter in an attempt to rescue its ailing finances.” (1)
“We’ve got to tackle some of the waste which is still in the system.”
Waste of course, is a rather a subjective term; yet it seems that gluten-free foods fall under the definition, having being prescribed to the tune of £22million in recent times.
“It’s my right to receive care”, says the recipient of ‘Barkat Chocolate Rice Crunchies’ (Ingredients: rice, raw cane sugar, cocoa) and ‘Mrs. Crimbles Cheese Bites’ (Ingredients: cheese, potato starch, egg yolk, yeast extract, milk proteins, salt, cheese flavouring).
“No it’s not”, says many a reputable health practitioner, who rightly observe that these confectionary items form no part of a healthy balanced diet; especially in light of the fact that less than 2% of people are actually gluten-intolerant on any genetic level; with the remainder merely suffering from bowel complaints brought on by consistently poor dietary practice.
Dr Amanda Doyle, of the NHS Clinical Commissioners (the membership organisation of clinical commissioning groups), says;
“We are currently spending hundreds of millions of pounds on things we would generally consider to be low priority for funding, and we are looking at ways of reducing that spending so we can direct the funding into things that take a higher priority.”
Another tenet of naturopathy translates from Latin as “The buyer is responsible”, noting that true health cannot be achieved with a pill or bought from a therapist; and that each individual must take ownership and personal responsibility for the maintenance of their body, mind and environment.
NHS England shares out more than £100 billion in funds, and holds organisations to account for spending this money effectively for patients, and efficiently for the tax payer. (2)
(Yes, you read that correctly; £100 billion, a barely believable RSA rand 16,032,484,500,00 at current exchange rates).
Founded shortly after the end of WWII, Britain’s NHS is today, the largest and oldest single-payer healthcare system in the world. A prized national treasure to many; it is seen as a major tax drain in need of drastic transformation to others.
Few people, if any, were gluten intolerant in the 1940’s because macro-economic food manufacture hadn’t yet monopolized the global food chain, and people still ate their fresh fruit and vegetables.
With ‘diseases’ such as obesity, type-II diabetes and non-genetic (lifestyle induced) hypertension filling hospital waiting rooms; and with these conditions increasingly linked to the development of multiple different types of cancer; it seems that many people are coming to question exactly what sort of health service they feel society needs, and whether an individual’s personal actions might not be taken into consideration when they seek expensive medical care.
NHS England’s manifesto seeks to encourage and inform the national debate to improve health and care. And Norman Lamb (the Liberal Democrats’ shadow health secretary) acknowledges;
“We do have to confront tough choices about whether we all pay more, or whether the NHS does less.”
Tough choices indeed.
Travel vaccines (a luxury?), sun cream (in England!) and miscellaneous “rubs and ointments” also appear on the list of tax-funded treatments currently being considered for culling.
To reiterate, this is not a discussion around whether a person can afford effective healthcare; but whether or not valuable services are being wasted on people who won’t take care of themselves.
NH21 offers a 28-Day Challenge as part of its treatment protocols. 28 days because it takes a while for the effects of dietary and lifestyle modifications to become apparent in the body. But apparent they do become; given a little time and commitment on behalf of the person enrolled on the programme.
Outside of medical emergencies, one wonders whether any treatment shouldn’t be delayed for 28 days, while the patient contractually commits to drinking more water, eating more greens and engaging in daily, moderate exercise; whilst decreasing their salt, sugar, meat and alcohol consumption.
Even these entry level actions virtually guarantee tangible health improvements; and of course, if they do not, one could then head to the doctor for medical advice.
Voila! We just saved a couple of hundred-million pounds, and quite possibly, a few million lives.