Encouraging Results from the NHS “Have Your Say” Event.
Yesterday I blogged about my attending the NHS “Have Your Say” Event in Blandford. I had submitted questions in advance and had a further question which, lamentably, there was no time to ask. As I drove over to Blandford I admit to thinking that this was going to be just another fruitless exercise where I was going to come away with the feeling that I’d got no further forward in promoting the profession with the NHS, however, this morning I say with some caution that I am rather encouraged. See below the questions and the answers I received:
1. Shortly before Christmas (2010), the field of hypnotherapy achieved the status of “Voluntary Self-Regulation”. This has been achieved with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council(CNHC) acting as the external independent regulator.
a) As a Department of Health funded organisation (at least presently), what “standing” does the CNHC enjoy within the NHS?
b) Would registration with the CNHC afford the therapist better recognition within the NHS?
The Dorset PCT Director for Public Health Dr David Phillips answered both parts of this question generally. He admitted, quite honestly I thought, that he was not particularly familiar with the work of the CNHC, however, he congratulated the hypnotherapy profession as a whole on achieving this regulation and the panel believes it is an important first step for the profession in becoming more main stream and recognised, akin to chiropractors physiotherapists and acupuncturists for example.
Perhaps worthy of note in this answer is Dr Phillips’ unfamiliarity with the CNHC. The CNHC itself says that they routinely ask GP’s to consider their registered practitioners when considering a referral. Clearly this statement is disparate to the answer I received and the CNHC has some way to go to promote themselves within GP surgerys. This may be the reason that the CNHC asks it’s registrants to download their publicity and deliver it, under covering letter, to local surgeries. It may be that as Dr Phillips “day job” is that of Director of Public Health, he wasn’t familiar with the CNHC as he is somewhat removed from the coal face, but there where other GPs on the panel who could have chipped in if they were more aware of the CNHC’s work.
My second question:
2. Clearly, the NHS must practice evidence based medicine when commissioning services and get value for money, especially in these austere times.
How does a health care provider, with a firm and robust evidence based (and probably money saving) outcome driven idea, present this idea to the NHS for proper consideration?
Again, Dr Phillips answered this question saying that the NHS remain open minded to all ideas and interventions where the evidence as to their efficacy exists. He further suggested that I keep an eye on the newspapers and other advertising media so I can find out about forthcoming procurements and I can submit my ideas through the normal tendering process. In a cautionary note, however, he did state that the evidence backing up the use of hypnosis appears very weak in the clinical arena. I challenged this by respectfully asking him to go to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) own website where you can obtain access to the NHS Document Library Database. Further instructing him to put the term “Hypnotherapy” into their search engine, I suggested he might be surprised at the amount of results he received! I also said that I and my skill set has been registered with the NHS’ procurement agency ever since I became qualified and not once has anything come up in the procurement world that would use them.
The encouraging bit though is the brief, yet honest and frank discussion I had with Dr Phillips after the meeting had concluded. He stated that the advanced submission of my questions had caused him to put some serious thought into the whole area and just how it might assist the NHS. I found Dr Phillips to be very open to the fraction of ideas that I had the time to convey verbally! I asked, how or to whom I could present ideas so that hypnotherapy services might actually start appearing on the procurement process. Encouragingly, both Dr Phillips and one other have both asked me to prepare and submit a paper on the various areas that hypnotherapy could assist with in the modern day NHS. I’ve got some work to do now haven’t I?