Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Minor ailments cost NHS £2bn

Shirley Price Aromatherapy Ltd response to "Self Care Campaign" Doctors Group Letter.

The relationship between common ailments and health is a complex one. Aromatherapy with essential oils has a well established complementary role to play. Essential oils derived from plants have been used for centuries for self help with common ailments. Today the antibacterial and preservative effect of essential oil components is a favourite and vital matter of university study.

For over 95% of coughs and colds self help with a few drops of essential oil inhaled on a tissue is sufficient to relieve symptoms and even combat bacteria and viruses. Taking Vitamin C tablets in the winter months is a sensible nutritive step beyond eating fruit. Sometimes coughs and colds can lead to complications which require medical treatment so it is sensible to attend the doctor where symptoms persist.

The muscular tensions which lead to back pain are often treatable by aromatherapists and other complementary practicioners where there is not a structural cause like damage to the spine. Acne, constipation, migraines are all treatable by aromatherapists. Finding a properly qualified aromatherapist. Weblink.

Many practice nurses have trained in the use of aromatherapy and it may be GP's could make more time and resources available to encourage this training. Many hope for a 'cure' for the common cold but the fact is that the function of the lungs is not harmed by colds and may have a cleansing effect. Bacteria consume other bacteria and have a protective and beneficial effect on the body. The relationship between health and common ailments is indeed a complex one.

Tell that to the parents of a toddler or an vulnerable elderly relative who has been in the grip of colds and flu for six months over the winter months. Nothing is more distressing. Please note great care must be taken in using essential oils around children. For example inhalation of the more mild kinds of eucalyptus is advised.

Ian Brealey BSc FCA, Hinckley

Summary of Doctors Group letter

People seeing GPs for minor ailments such as coughs and colds are having a "catastrophic impact" on the NHS, leading healthcare professionals have warned. Skip related content
Related photos / videos Enlarge photo Common treatable ailments now account for almost a fifth of GP appointments and are costing the health service an "astonishing" £2 billion annually, they said.

In a letter to The Times, the group also warned the NHS had become "the victim of a demand-led culture" with 51.4 million consultations annually for minor problems alone.

They wrote: "We are now a society in which the common disturbances to normal good health, such as coughs and colds, account for nearly one fifth of GP workload.

"New research reveals the catastrophic impact of this dependency on the NHS and how the NHS has become the victim of a demand-led culture.

"Seeing a GP for ailments that can be self-treated is estimated to cost an astonishing £2 billion every year."

The letter adds: "A shift in behaviour around treating minor ailments could save the NHS this money without any cuts to services whatsoever."

Nearly half the 51.4 million consultations were generated by people aged between 16 and 59, the group's research has suggested.

Back pain was the most common reason, prompting 8.4 million sessions, with other problems consulted on including colds, acne, constipation and migraines.

Among the letter's 17 signatories are Professor David Haslam, former chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners; Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance; and Dr John Chisholm, former chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs committee.

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