I was invited to the House of Commons as part of the CSTA PR Team once again last week, where Dr Michael Dixon, current Chair of the College of Medicine (and former chair of the NHS Alliance /former President of the NHS Clinical Commissioners) gave an engaging talk about how he views the future of medicine to be on the path to becoming more integrated.
He proposed that with new doctors beginning to advocate nutritional advice (doctors currently receive hardly any training), and ‘social prescription’ (community-based support, yoga and mindfulness) over the use of drugs, recommendations for complementary therapies will inevitably follow. Dr Dixon said a few years ago he would have been hunted down and ridiculed for making such statements (his Wikipedia page used to be altered up to 3 times a day), but things now seem to be changing. The NHS have already expressed interest in 'social prescription' following recent studies in Rotherham, West London and Gloucester which demonstrate its effectiveness in reducing doctors visits by 25% and 50% in older patients. This is significant as using local resources then opens the door for complementary therapies to come into play. Dr Dixon also spoke about how scientific evidence is not necessarily the right kind of evidence with which to measure complementary therapies, and how it largely ignores patient experiences.
Overall there was a sense of excitement for the future of complementary therapies, with new doors opening for integrated medicine.