The rising incidence of long term conditions (LTCs) is the greatest single challenge to public health in the UK with the most important factors being age and socio-economic deprivation. Many people with LTCs have more than medical condition and are frequently prescribed 5 or more drugs at once – some to counteract the adverse reactions of other medicines. Treatment of this kind is common in people with LTCs and is also associated with an increased risk of adverse drug reactions.

The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of care for long term conditions (LTCs) could be greatly enhanced by integrating Complementary Medicine (CM), especially alongside other patient-centred self-care and enabling approaches.

The Health Committee decided to examine the way in which the NHS and social care system in England supported people with long-term conditions (LTC) and called for written evidence to be submitted by the 9th May 2013.

The Department of Health’s website defines long-term conditions (LTC) as “conditions that cannot, at present, be cured, but can be controlled by medication and other therapies. The life of a person with a LTC is forever altered – there is no return to ‘normal’.” Over 20 million people in England are living with one or more long-term condition and treatment and care of these accounts for 70% of the health budget.

On the 18th June, the Health Committee began its enquiry inviting a selection of people who had made written submissions to attend a hearing of oral evidence.

Witnesses for the second hearing, on 29th October, included Dr Peter Fisher, Clinical Director and Director of Research at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine together with Professor George Lewith, Professor of Health Research at University of Southampton to talk about the role of complementary medicine and how it can offer an integrated approach to in the treatment of LTC for the benefit of patients. Click here to see them on Parliament Live