Last year the NHS turned 70 years old. Its ethos of free healthcare for all embodies our strong social conscience and is some-thing of which we are rightly proud as a nation. With current fears and uncertainty surrounding the NHS due to Brexit, it’s something we are having to stand up and fight for.
Our departure from the EU comes with a release from laws which prevent changes within our healthcare system, and therein lies potential for positive growth. As the growing shortfall in the NHS runs into billions of pounds it is clear that the system as it stands is unsustainable.
The NHS was founded at a time when infectious diseases were the biggest killers, but times have changed. Many of the diseases that plague our nations today are preventable diseases such as heart disease, autoimmune diseases, type two diabetes and obesity. The indirect costs of type two diabetes and obesity alone are estimated at £55 billion per year.1
The most effective way to treat lifestyle disorders is with lifestyle changes tailored to each individual’s circumstances and needs. Key changes are often simple ones – choosing to eat, sleep, move and relax effectively can dramatically reduce the risk of disease. But each person needs education, support and above all a clear direction.
What’s to be Done?
In 2001, Derek Wanless, former CEO of NatWest Bank, was invited by the government to assess the long-term trends of the NHS to give an understanding of what would be required for its sustainability. The analysis that he and his team provided clearly showed that the only effective solution was to reduce the burden on the health care system by increasing individuals’ engagement in their own health2. Some of his recommendations have been acted upon but there is still a long way to go.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a global strategy on diet, physical activity and health in 2004 which underlined the importance of collaboration between a wide range of health disciplines, including non-government and grass roots enterprises. It stressed that the far-reaching goals of the strategy have ‘immense potential for public health gains worldwide.’
The Alliance for Natural Health has recently published a comprehensive ‘Blueprint for Health System Sustainability’, detailing how we can move forward with a health system which fits the goals of the WHO and serves us for future generations. There is a strong emphasis on the individual playing an active role in their own healthcare and collaboration between health care professionals of all disciplines. In addition, they suggest a significant reduction in the use of pharmaceuticals as the frontline treatment for dietary and lifestyle disorders; these are not only costly but ineffective.
The blueprint identifies 12 areas of health that are commonly thrown out of balance by modern lifestyle. These include;
- Genetic and epigenetic background
- Glycaemic control and flexibility
- Gastrointestinal control and microbiome function
- Mitochondrial function
- Immune system function and inflammatory status
- Oxidative stress status
- Neuro endocrine function
- Circulatory system function
- Toxic burden
- Structural integrity status
- Psychological and cognitive function
- Psychosocial and emotional health status
These areas of health together make up our ecological terrain which should be monitored by each individual, as well as where necessary, practitioner evaluation and testing.
Glycaemic control and metabolic flexibility: a new framework
‘This is a time of great transformation, of simultaneous breakdown and breakthrough, affecting all aspects of our human endeavour, not least our approach to human health and wellbeing. Our present responsibility is not simply for our own health, but for future generations and the wider fabric of life on which we all depend.’
Giles Hutchins, Regenerative leadership specialist, author of the ‘Nature of Business’, ‘The Illusion of Separation’ and ‘Future Fit’.
What would you like the health system to look like in generations to come?
The potential of the human body to re-establish homeostasis – a harmonious balance – is often underestimated. Often, we do not need to take drastic measures or pharmaceutical medications to bring about a state of health, but instead need to remove obstacles that prevent the body from doing what it is designed to do. This may involve cleansing a build-up of wastes so that the lymphatic fluid can flow freely or tackling an emotional discord that is creating chronic stress. The realisation of our potential for healing and vibrant health is limited only by our expectations of what can be achieved.
If you’d like to understand more about The Alliance for Natural Health and their ‘Blueprint for Health System Sustainability‘ which is endorsed by The Herbal Clinic, you can find the link on our website.
The Herbal Clinic, 32 King Edward Road, Swansea SA1 4LL / 01792 474356 www.herbalclinic-swansea.co.uk / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hex N et al. Estimating the current and future costs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the UK, including direct health costs and indirect societal and productivity costs. Diabet. Med. 2012; 29: 855–862
- Wanless D. Securing Good health for the Whole Population: Population Health Trends. HMSO, Norwich. 51 pp.