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Editorial Issue 128

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 128 - October 2006

One of my current pet hates is the over-riding obsession in our culture with cheapness, value for money, buy-one-get-one-free mentality. This paradigm pervades our entire lifestyle, affecting our options and choices regarding food, education, music, clothes, even healthcare.

During and following the Second World War, there was a huge drive for farmers to produce cheap food to feed the nation, and this has continued for the past 50-60 years. It has become a virtue, to my mind a fetish, to spend the least amount of money on food shopping. Hence, the 2 for 1 offers, cut prices for out-of-date food which all abound to attract us, as though spending the least money for our groceries was our prime objective.

Without wishing to advocate profligacy in doing the weekly food shop, I wonder what has happened to objectives such as getting the best quality of food, obtaining food free of pesticides, additives, preservatives, trans fatty acids as well as organic meat and vegetables, i.e. nutritious food which will enhance our good health?

This same idiocy has been applied to healthcare. For example, NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) recently announced that UK physicians were prescribing too many antibiotics, and performing too many tonsillectomy and hysterectomy operations; unnecessary tonsillectomies and hysterectomies are said to cost the NHS £21m a year. They announced that they would now be issuing guidance to doctors to attempt to limit the antibiotic prescriptions and these outdated surgical operations.

This isn't news, although the NICE announcement was trumpeted out as a news headline. It has been known for decades that excessive prescriptive use of antibiotics has led to a massive international crisis manifested as drug resistant strains of super bugs, such as lethal strains including MRSA. It also went out of style decades ago to whip out every child's tonsils, which are not a redundant appendage, but perform important functions in the body. The same is true of appendectomies; not that long ago the appendix was routinely surgically removed from children.

We already have the insane paradigm in the NHS which equates more drugs and more operations as benchmarks of a better and more progressive healthcare system. Positive Health readers will readily realize that fewer drugs, fewer doctor appointments and fewer operations would signify a healthier population.

Since when does spending more on doctors make us more healthy? However, the statement that reducing these old-fashioned and actually dangerous practices could save the NHS £21 million, is what got the headlines. Not that people would be better off without unnecessary antibiotics or operations, but that the £21 million could be spent on more MRI scanners or more drugs.

Thinking that we are getting something for nothing is delusional. When we get treated on the NHS 'for free', we would have to be dim-witted to think that it doesn't cost money; doctors get paid, the equipment and drugs used are purchased and paid for, the support staff cost money. Our 'free' treatment isn't in any way free.

When we visit a solicitor, we have to pay them £100-£200 per hour. Similarly, we pay car mechanics, estate agents; everybody is paid for their work and time. Except, of course, we have been conned into thinking by the marketing gurus that we can get free music downloads, free downloaded books from Google. This is patently not sustainable; if music and books are free, how do musicians and authors get paid for their time and work?

Similarly, as Complementary Practitioners, why is it that we are paid only for our time performing treatments, but not for everything else which is part of our practice: equipment, administration, legal and insurance costs, space rental, etc, etc? We don't usually get paid £100-£200 per hour like the doctors or the lawyers; however, if we truly cost what goes into what we are comprehensively performing as therapists, then we can readily see that this is what our true pay rate ought to be.

This rate does not even include the research, education and consultations practitioners carry out in order to keep themselves up-to-date.

We publish in this issue an early Announcement (please see page 5) regarding the Aromatherapy Profession's Self-Regulatory Body, The Aromatherapy Council, due to be launched on 1 December '06. This will be accompanied by a single Regulatory Register of Aromatherapists which is intended to enhance the credibility of the profession amongst other health professional, including GPs, Nurses, Midwives, Physiotherapists amongst others. Hopefully, this will result in the desirable situation in which Aromatherapists, if they wish, will be entitled to practise their profession within the NHS, where they will benefit from the administrative and clinical support which will enable them to concentrate on doing their work, rather than trying to run a business without being adequately remunerated.

As most PH readers realize, the amount of time and effort which goes into writing an article, a book, as well as the huge expertise of professionals' compilations published within this and other journals have real value. We all ought to remember the old adage there is no such thing as a free lunch the next time that we want to obtain free copies of books, health products, CDs and treatments.


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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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