Alternative vs Orthodox Medicine
It is unfortunately the case that holistic practitioners will occasionally come into contact with the state system of medical care, as patients. Although regrettable, the experience does at least give the practitioner the opportunity to compare the contrasts in approach and reflect upon the impact this may have upon their own patients with regard to their appreciation of the individual holistic approach.
Over the past decade, this has increasingly become an issue of considerable debate. The imposition of government targets has led to the slavish adherence to official protocols and procedures, irrespective to the barriers to which this policy has given rise, which either hinder or totally prevent the actual delivery of care. A culture of suppression of criticism, supported by an ever-growing expenditure on public relations and “spin doctoring” has, in many cases, created a monolith more devoted to the adherence to “systems in place” than to their alleged raison d’être. It may come as no surprise that the projected NHS PR budget for 2013 is £285 million.
The pyramid hierarchy of authority within the NHS chain of command has all too often come to mirror the “closed shop” approach to job protection, which prior to the premiership of the late Margaret Thatcher, brought the entire national economy to the point of collapse. The compartmentalisation of individual facets of health care has inevitably led to the dehumanisation of the contact between the “health care technician” and the patient. This has inevitably led to the further promotion of the abdication of care. This in turn has created a culture of compensation and gagging orders, which in turn opposes the concept of correction. To correct you must first admit fault and to admit fault attracts both censure and claims for compensation.
Having lost faith in its ability to deliver the health care, for which the service was created, the state has increasingly turned to outsourcing various aspects of its provision to a private sector driven by the doctrine of maximum return for minimum outlay. The contrasts of philosophy between this model and that of the traditional healer/therapist have never been more self-evident.
The incompatibility between the pre-and post-Cartesian paradigms of mutually exclusive medical training has long been the subject of vitriolic debate. The deployment of Orwellian “doublespeak” has been extensively deployed to confront this unsquareable circle. Its ultimate example of this was found in the Steering Group Report, sponsored by the Foundation for Integrated Health, an organisation which was itself shut down by the Charities Commission, under accusations of embezzlement and money laundering!
Against this background, it is quite understandable that the detached observer would have failed to comprehend the endeavours of sections within the herbal medicine community, to seek professional validation within such a fatally flawed model.
The current government administration, having initially been swayed by a slick (and presumably equally expensive) assault by hired professional lobbyists (Cogitas), appears now to have recognised that it has been misled by nothing more than a deceptive exercise in semantic prestidigitation. In response to its belated enlightenment, the government has now found itself clutching an ever shrinking fig leaf with which to conceal its embarrassment, while simultaneously attempting to semaphore a U-turn under the guise of a “review of policy”.
While we await the final dénouement of this political impasse, it remains difficult to envisage anything other than yet another fudge, the like of which has been the hall mark of the current dysfunctional collaboration.
In the face of the serried ranks of the deluded (and now dismayed) advocates of the policy of professional advancement within the toxic environment of the HPC (a non-governmental organisation festering within the Department of Health), the International Register of Consultant Herbalists and Homoeopaths has continued in the traditional philosophy of naturopathic holistic healthcare, delivered on a personal one-to-one basis.
This condition of practice continues to be enshrined in the Human Medicines Act 2012 and is fundamental to the traditional practice of herbal and homoeopathic medicine. The limitations imposed by this derogation may have been intended as a restraint against irresponsible business practice, but it also recognises and protects the importance of interfacing relationship between the therapist and patient and its impact on the therapeutic outcome.
The basis of any successful relationship is founded on mutual respect, regardless of any apparent disparity status between those involved. Without respect, there can be no understanding and without understanding, there can be no accurate diagnosis or subsequent appropriate treatment regime.
Whilst the importance of trust and respect between therapist and patient is self-evident, the same is equally important in the relationship between the therapist and his/herself and the therapy practised. Perhaps herein lies the explanation of those who lacking respect for either themselves or their therapy, have sought validation through pseudo integration within a collapsing system that has manifestly already lost faith in itself.
Those who, in the face of cynically manufactured chaos and alarm, have continued to listen to the “still small voice of calm” and recognised its internal validity have found themselves drawn to a “family” of like-minded practitioners. There they have found a path that has been broad enough to accommodate all who would take it and straight enough for all to follow
Those, who walk this path in an ever-changing world of erratic political confusion, are called upon to practice constant discernment and discrimination. These qualities have always been central to the ethos of the IRCH in its pursuit of excellence. Those who crave validation should seek it within their own integrity and that of their therapy. If it cannot be found there, it will never be discovered within the gift of any bureaucratic Deus ex Machina!
It has always been this inner integrity, which has stood at the centre of the relationship between therapist and patient. It is something we must continue to guard as the very breath of life. Without it, we are nothing.