Recent amendments to doctor’s referral guidelines by the General Medical Council (GMC) earlier this year have made it possible for GPs to refer their patients to CNHC registered Nutritional Therapists. This is a big step in the right direction and significantly enhances patient choice, which is one of the improvement targets on which the National Health Services have been focusing lately.
This means you may now request a referral for Nutritional Therapy from your doctor or your doctor may take the initiative to suggest you see a Nutritional Therapist when appropriate. Although this does not mean that NHS funding will automatically follow, some private health insurance providers such as Pru Health already cover Nutritional Therapy. It is currently up to each GP surgery to decide where funding is allocated. In time, we hope to demonstrate with numbers how the successful outcomes of adjunct Nutritional Therapy can contribute to much higher patient satisfaction. Communication between BANT, GPs and the medical community continues and it is likely that further agreements may come to play in the future making Nutritional Therapy available on a wider scale.
The recognition that many chronic states of disease are associated with poor lifestyle choices is fundamental for preventative healthcare and higher standards of patient wellbeing. The fact that the NHS is turning to complementary therapies such as Nutritional Therapy to support patients shows that the importance of lifestyle management cannot be ignored any longer.
The positive impact of Nutritional Therapy on health and quality of life will significantly add to the National Health Services by augmenting individualised care through a personal approach. With consultations lasting between 60 and 90 minutes, Nutritional Therapy can be a valuable adjunct in the management of difficult to treat chronic conditions, especially those related to diet and lifestyle.
The profile of Nutritional Therapy as an emerging evidence-based health profession has gained unprecedented recognition in the past 5 years. Training standards have been established in a National Core Curriculum and work continues towards making Nutritional Therapy a protected title. As reported on CNHC’s web news, the Professional Standards Authority declared during a round table event on 01st July 2015 that “commissioners and employers could rely on the assurance provided by the accreditation scheme and so could start to look wider than ‘traditional’ models of care when commissioning services or making referrals.
Personal Health Budgets were mentioned as one key way that patients could have access to services that were important to them and that practitioners on Accredited Registers are ideally placed to be able to deliver these services.
Complementary therapies were referred to many times during the session at which CNHC Chief Executive Margaret Coats reminded those present of the General Medical Council’s (GMC’s) recent amendment to its referral guidance.
Margaret commented: “This was a really positive event and gave PSA, CNHC and other Accredited Registers the opportunity to ensure that employers, commissioners and GPs understand what our practitioners have to offer. Some good bridges were built and I look forward to continuing to work with PSA to raise awareness of CNHC’s Accredited Register and the value our practitioners can and do add to the nation’s health and wellbeing.”
For the original text of the GMC guidance at section 8: GMC Delegation and Referral Guidance, click here.
For more details on professional standards applying to Nutritional Therapy, click here.