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Editorial Issue 74

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 74 - March 2002

The current healthcare system is light years from being integrated, vis à vis Orthodox and Complementary disciplines. This can be exemplified by reading comments from some of the letters generated in the Sunday Times serialization of The Living Proof by Michael Gearin-Tosh (see Review), as well as the Letter by Cancer Nurse specialist Patricia Peat "…I have been completely stonewalled by the doctors and nurses in the NHS; patients receiving unbiased, truthful information are not something they have so far welcomed…"

To my mind, there are complete paradigm shifts which need to happen to build a fundamentally healthy population and a healthcare, not a sickness system perpetually stretched to the breaking point under the insatiable demands of increasingly sicker people:

* At the moment, according to the politicians, it would appear that the more resources spent on performing operations and 'fixing' sick people, the better the healthcare system. In my eyes, the exact opposite should prevail. The best healthcare system in an ideal world would have the majority of people being healthy and rarely needing medical care, except for emergencies, acute epidemics and problems arising from their daily life;
* At the moment, environmental factors – food, pollution, water, chemicals, drugs, vaccinations – are probably the direct or indirect cause of much chronic ill health of the population. In my opinion, one of the most important prerequisites of building a healthy population is to eliminate these sources of toxicity, which burden and overtax people's immune systems and produce chronic illness;
* At the present, we are creating a time bomb of ill health due to the sedentary lifestyle of children and adults, consumption of excessive sugar, unhealthy types of fat, processed foods, and over-indulgence in caffeine, alcohol and smoking. No wonder there will never be an end to demand for medical attention when the population is overweight, unfit and consuming toxic nutrients which their immune system and livers cannot detoxify;
* At the present, the prevailing healthcare system dispenses drugs, surgery and other invasive treatments as the first option, as prescribed by 'modern' medicine. In my ideal world, treatments for the majority of minor or chronic complaints, apart from truly life-threatening emergencies, would in the first instance be based on the most effective, least harmful approaches, encompassing nutrition and lifestyle approaches, stress management, bodywork (massage, osteopathy), Chinese or herbal medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, i.e., complementary approaches;
* At the present, the vast majority of research funding is spent on pharmaceutical drug and high-tech medical advances. During the next generation, research monies would be better dispensed documenting efficacy of the above nutritional and other methodologies, particularly in the treatment of the major killers cancer and heart disease;
* At the present, complementary and orthodox worlds comprise two solitudes. Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and midwives graduate, get jobs in the NHS and pursue their health careers of their chosen discipline. Complementary practitioners graduate from a myriad of colleges with diplomas in their therapy, cannot work in the NHS and must set up in practice without the supervision and expertise provided other health professionals in the NHS, become businesses charging patients, and compete with other complementary practitioners.

In an ideal world, complementary therapies would become recognized healthcare disciplines within the medical system, and practitioners would graduate and be able to get jobs within the NHS and pursue their chosen therapies, whether it be aromatherapy, reflexology, osteopathy or nutrition. They would then be supervised by medical colleagues, their patients benefiting from the expertise available to the orthodox and complementary worlds;

* In the current system, conventional doctors learn very little about non-orthodox methods. In my ideal world, doctors would recognize each of the complementary disciplines as specialities within the global medicine system.

With all due respect to the current healthcare system, it is easier to make a wish list than to carry it out; however, if we never change our priorities, we will never move in the right direction.

Within this issue, there are heartening examples of real-life projects which are attempting to produce integrated medical practice, as exemplified in Dr Rosy Daniel's article Healthy Bristol – Integrated Medicine Project, as well as the invaluable book Integrating Complementary Therapies in Primary Care. This book, which I would urge every practitioner to read, has been 5 years in the making, and explores and documents the considerable progress in the myriad of issues to be confronted by both primary care doctors and complementary practitioners who wish to work together in a clinically meaningful way.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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