World Health Assembly progress on traditional medicine

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Press Release from WHO:

23 May 2014 | GENEVA – The World Health Assembly

Traditional medicine

The Health Assembly approved WHO’s traditional medicine strategy 2014–2023. Traditional medicine covers a wide variety of therapies and practices which vary from country to country and region to region. The strategy aims to build the knowledge base for national policies and strengthen quality assurance, safety, proper use and effectiveness of traditional and complementary medicine through regulation. It also aims to promote universal health coverage by integrating traditional and complementary medicine services into health care service delivery and home care.

Click here to read the report: WHO – Traditional medicine – Report by Secretariat – March 2014

Homeopathy Research Institute responds to flawed Australian report on homeopathy

The Homeopathy Research Institute [HRI] has prepared a full response to the recently published Australian report on homeopathy.

June 2nd 2014
The Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) welcomes attempts to critically evaluate the evidence base for homeopathy, providing this is done accurately and objectively. Sadly, the draft Information Paper on Homeopathy recently released by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is based on an evidence review which fails on both these counts.  Click here to read more.

RLHIM Patient Champions Integrated Medicine at Parliamentary Event

Lauren Vaknine with David Amess MP
Lauren Vaknine with David Amess MP

When only 2 years old, Lauren Vaknine was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis – now termed Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) – it was predicted that by the age of twenty she would most likely be wheelchair bound.

With her family’s support, using complementary medicines and, not least, drawing on her own determination and will power, Lauren battled various set-backs and, despite an event which, at 18, saw her confined to a wheelchair, she is now healthier than many 20-30 year olds.

Eight years ago Lauren was invited to speak at a Parliamentary event for young people with arthritis, which was hosted by David Amess.

That day made a huge impact on her as she realised, for the first time, how different she was to other JIA sufferers. She was the only one in the room who had no long-term joint, bone or organ damage, and no deformities. She was also the only one who had been treated with integrated medicine.

On 4th June, David Amess MP hosted another Parliamentary event for young people with arthritis at the House of Commons, which Lauren organised. The event was to raise awareness about JIA among MPs, healthcare professionals, students and patients and their parents, on the importance of early diagnosis, living a healthy lifestyle, and encouraging patients to take their healthcare into their own hands.

Keynote speakers were:

  • Dr Clarissa Pilkington – Paediatric Rheumatologist at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital
  • Dr Peter Fisher – Consultant Rheumatologist and Clinical Director of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
  • Lauren Vaknine – Writer, campaigner, Trustee of the British Homeopathic Association and JIA sufferer
  • Denise Balyoz – Mother of 6 year old child with JIA

Lauren acts as a patient ambassador for the Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine and also campaigns to help improve paediatric care on the NHS.

Click here to see Lauren’s inspirational and moving talk about her experiences growing up as a child with JIA.

Switzerland: Status of complementary medicine secured

Media release from the Dachverband Komplementärmedizin (Dakomed) and the Union of Associations of Swiss Physicians for Complementary Medicine (UNION) dated 2 May 2014
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Berne, 02.05.2014. Dakomed and the UNION welcome the proposal from the Swiss Federal Department of Home Internal Affairs (FDHA) on the final inclusion of medical complementary medicine in the OKP [compulsory healthcare insurance] as a result of its equal status with other disciplines. Definitive payment through the basic insurance is long overdue. Dakomed and the UNION would now like to see a speedy implementation of the changes announced to the KLV [Healthcare Benefits Ordinance] and the KVV [Health Insurance Ordinance]. We expect all the parties concerned to lend their positive support to the process.

Five years ago, on 17 May 2009, a two-thirds majority of eligible voters approved the constitutional Article 118a to include medical complementary medicine in the Swiss healthcare system. Recent surveys have also clearly shown that complementary medicine is supported and desired by a majority of the population. One of the central demands is that the four medical disciplines of anthroposophically extended medicine, classic homeopathy, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) should be paid for through the basic health insurance if these disciplines are provided by medical professionals who have received appropriate additional training. (This does not affect services rendered by non-medical therapists. The costs of these services will continue to be met through the corresponding supplementary insurances.)

The evaluation of all the evidence developed over the past 13 years allows us to conclude that the effectiveness, appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of medical complementary medicine has today proven to be comparable with that of conventional medicine. The quality assurance is guaranteed by the high standards demanded of the specialist education and training: the full state exam, a minimum five-year specialist medical residency as well as additional training in at least one of the four complementary medical disciplines are a prerequisite for the certificates of competence recognised by the FMH. There are consequently no further obstacles to medical complementary medicine finally being included in the OKP.

For further information please contact:
Dr. med. Hansueli Albonico, President of UNION, the Union of Associations of Swiss Physicians for Complementary Medicine, Chairman of the Executive Board of Dakomed, 079 595 79 48
Christine Keller Sallenbach, Managing Director of the Umbrella Association for Complementary Medicine, 078 646 43 92

Health Committee enquiry into management of long-term conditions

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