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What is the best and most cost effective way to manage your health and well being in Walsall

We all have choices to make about how to manage our own health, but it would seem for many people those choices are being made by someone else, we are choosing not to choose!

What is the reasoning behind the treatment options we rely on for our  health? For a great many people it’s become quite simple ‘what does my Dr say?’. Many people have simply become dependant on there GP to make decisions for them, and don’t stop to think ‘what can I do to improve my health’ which is a bit like expecting your local garage to take responsibility for all aspects of keeping your car running, from choosing the fuel to booking it in for its MOT. There are a much wider range of options available for example Walsall Mind and Body Centre on the Broadway in Walsall is a one stop shop for complementary and natural health care, there are Pharmacies with staff trained to do simple tests and offer free advice, there’s shops selling cheap safe remedies.

Our cars are our responsibility, and we have a wide range of choices about how to maintain them. In the past we would have changed our own oil (remember all those dip stick jokes), spark plugs, checked the temperature gage regularly etc, would have taken it to different garages depending on what was wrong and in many cases fixed it ourselves. So here is a radical thought, what if we did the same with our health. What if we started with self help,then moved to trying a Pharmacy or ringing Walsall Mind and Body Centre, and only going to the GP if we couldn’t sort it out ourselves? Wouldn’t that be quicker, simpler and often cheaper? YES.

Obviously there are times when an illness is acute or serious when a GP is absolutely the right person to help you, but if that’s the case, your pharmacist will say ‘go to your GP’ an appropriately qualified therapist will say ‘go to see your GP and let me know how that goes I may be able to help you manage those symptoms’. In order to make sure the advice is right choose the right therapist. Your Pharmacist is professionally qualified and so should your therapist be. At Walsall Mind and Body we rigorously check the qualifications and professional standing of all our therapists. Some of us already work within the NHS as well as privately, we are all qualified in line with National Occupational Standards, members of professional bodies and fully insured, we have Drs, most of our staff have Degree’s some have Master Degree’s, one of us has a research based PHD and we are all fully qualified in anatomy and physiology.

Local Complementary and natural health care provider wins national award

So the  NHS is not the only provider of health and well being for people in Walsall and in some cases with the cost of prescriptions (or if you factor in lost earnings for the self employed etc ) not the cheapest. Have you considered getting low cost health insurance which often covers basic health care and complementary therapies? Have you visited your local pharmacist to discuss over the counter remedies and medicines? Have you spoken to a homeopath or a complementary therapist?

So if we saw the NHS as part of our health care support system, took responsibility for making choices about our health and about treatment options ourselves, how would that effect the NHS? Well I think most GPs would be thrilled, the waiting times for appointments would drop, and the costs of wasted prescriptions would plummet. That is why the NHS and the World Health Organisation are both trying to integrate these other options into people’s approach to health. The lets get back to basics approach in this instance might be seen as establishing a system of ‘Traditional English Indigenous and Other Medicine’ rather like in China, India and elsewhere in the world where people don’t always rush to the GP and his prescription pad.

What would a traditional English and Other Medicine System offer the NHS? The world Health Organisation (WHO) has been trying since 1993 (WHO document FR/RC26/TD/1) to support the integration of traditional (or indigenous) medicine within primary care systems around the world. The reasons for this are complex but in summary include; patent choice and trust, the fact that traditional medicines are based on the historical and cultural context of an area and may therefor provide a more comfortable experience for the patient, and importantly financial factors.

The primary financial factors are that some populations may have relatively low access to western style (Allopathic) medicine, and the cost of western medicine can be relatively high, largely because of the role of pharmaceuticals and companies that develop and sell surgical equipment. What are the implications of this for the UK and specifically for us here in Walsall? Well WHO is trying hardest to implement the integration of traditional and western medication in poorer countries where the population are more likely to be effected by deprivation in terms of health care. Well of course that is never the same in the UK or is it? Isn’t it the case that most of us are under pressure financially?

The NHS is funded by national insurance contributions, and as our population lives longer and longer the squeeze on the NHS gets tighter and services are cut. As governments make choices about spending, cuts cuts cuts! The NHS is under more and more pressure.  Patients often have to  wait a long time to see a specialist such as a Physiotherapist, or a psychotherapist. There is always the option to go to a private hospital to see the specialist but the cost of this can be prohibitively high (over £100 just to see a Consultant privately) so only those with a higher income can afford this option. But private hospitals are not the only place to see a clinician, in Walsall and elsewhere there are local (cheaper) alternatives in small local clinics and holistic health care settings.

Pharmaceutical treatments are often the first line of treatment with the NHS followed often by surgery or invasive tests if Pharmaceuticals don’t work. The patient doesn’t have to meet the full cost of this directly the NHS does, which means we pay indirectly. However this method of paying does mean that the people who make profit are the ones making the Pharmaceuticals and the surgical equipment, and they maintain high prices, putting a further squeeze on the NHS and leading to ‘rationing’ and the infamous ‘post code lottery’.

So looking back at traditional medicine and health care in the primary health setting, what does this have to offer. Its cheaper, sending a person with a back pain for a massage is vastly cheaper than sending them to see a consultant surgeon, and they can still see the surgeon if the massage doesn’t give them enough relief. Seeing a homeopath instead of taking Pharmaceuticals is probably much cheaper in the long run, and eases the burden on the GP. Hypnotherapy for IBS is actually recommended in the UK, however the NHS won’t write a prescription for it, they simply keep prescribing drugs for years to manage the symptoms.

In short if the We as individuals implemented the WHO plan for the integration of traditional medicine into primary health it would benefit the NHS, the patient and the economy, could lead to shorter waiting times and offer greater patient choice. So who would loose out? The drug companies and companies that make surgical equipment? WHO cares. Pester your GP, your MP and anyone else who will listen.

Any way, until then please remember that if you need us we are here, offering high quality traditional treatments, at cost effective prices and with no waiting lists ( you will usually be seen within a few days, and no rationing) so if you have a back pain, or IBS or many other non emergency (and quite a few acute/serious conditions) conditions give us a call, oh and by the way, if you do have private medical insurance much of what we do is covered.

Andrea Bradley

Walsall Mind and Body Centre

4a Hawes Close

Fullbrook

the Broadway

Walsall

West Midlands

WS1 3HG

01922 649142

WWW.walsallmindandbody.co.uk

info@walsallmindandbody.co.uk

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