The West is going through financial turmoil. Its governments are bankrupt, and are being
forced to cut back on public expenditure.
For David Cameron’s UK
government, the National Health Service (NHS) presents a special challenge: not
only is it the nation’s premier cash drain, costing the taxpayer £100bn a year,
it is also its most sacred, and appears to be untouchable.
Prime Minister Cameron admitted as much when he pronounced
he would ring-fence the NHS from the swingeing cuts being administered to all other
government departments. Despite these
public assurances, in 2009 he commissioned the management consultants McKinsey
to look for cost savings. They identified
up to £20bn of cuts that could be achieved over a five-year period by
eliminating inefficiencies and treatments that are ‘relatively ineffective’.
Many medical procedures and drugs are, of course, relatively
ineffective – and there are alternatives that are more effective and far less expensive,
as the Department of Health is beginning to realise.
Ignoring the bully boy tactics of some doctors and
academics, the politicians and NHS bureaucrats are prepared to introduce more
effective alternatives. They recently
ran a beauty parade, and we know that several of the therapies being reviewed
have featured in WDDTY.
government is not alone in its reforms. Iceland – which is even more broke than the UK – is much
further down the path of introducing alternative therapies into its healthcare
system, and one WDDTY panellist is acting as an advisor.
has published a consultative paper about alternatives that could be introduced
as complementary therapies into its own healthcare system.
Vitamin supplements – the subject of this month’s Special
- are playing a key part in the UK
government’s rethinking on healthcare reform.
Paradoxically, EU bureaucrats are still taking a different view, and
want supplement potency and novel applications to be curbed.
Doctors are doubtlessly rolling out their standard argument
that we get all the nutrition we need from the food we eat. That’s true only in theory; in reality, the
food we eat is so lacking in nutrition that we need to supplement.
The fact that most of us are malnourished is one of the
contributing factors to the escalating costs of healthcare systems around the
world as they continue to perpetuate illness - using drugs that treat symptoms
but never cure – instead of understanding the causes of disease.