GP’s are finding effective ways to cut the NHS bill

The government has announced this week its new mental health strategy for England and promises an extra £400m for therapies, such as counselling, so as to increase access to them by 60% by 2015. This together with the shift of NHS spending to the GP’s might explain why we at The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy have been approached by two local GP’s this week to discuss sending their patients to us for effective help with smoking cessation. It has been long known that Hypnotherapy is the most effective way of stopping smoking. This knowledge is backed up by extensive research including one Meta-analysis encompassing 72,000 subjects that showed hypnotherapy to be the most effective. We believe it would be far more cost effective for the NHS to send patients for hypnotherapy where in one session the patient is free of the habit than years of attempts using drugs, patches and other NRT products.

Local General Practitioners have started to notice that their patients are coming to us for anxiety issues and then going back to the GP’s for a plan of how they could come off anti-depressants. One GP commented that over the last ten years he has been recommending us, he has seen a steady stream of his patients coming back and saying that they have got rid of their anxiety and would like to come off their medication. Drugs are a significant cost to the NHS and with the new responsibilities GPs will have with regards to budgetary control they are looking at the most effective way of solving the problem of the expense of their drugs budget. Following the introduction of the CNHC Regulatory Body which is supported by the Department of Health, hypnotherapists can be selected by members of the public and by GPs with confidence that they are appropriately qualified.

Anxiety and smoking are amongst a wide range of disorders and behavioural problems that hypnotherapy can assist with or help, ranging from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), weight control, stress, to insomnia and addictive behaviours. All these subconscious led issues respond well to hypnotherapy and could save our NHS system millions of pounds every year.

In helping patients to resolve their psychological problems GPs have always put the patients’ best interest at the forefront of their decision making process, there are a wide range of therapies and medications available to patients and a wide range of medications which may be prescribed to assist with mental health problems. GPs will always base their choice on therapy on both efficacy and how they believe the patient will respond to particular type of therapy. They must also be mindful of the practitioner to whom they are referring having relevant qualifications and experience. With the new responsibilities regarding financial budgets for talking therapies being placed with the GP this is an additional dimension to be taken into account, the department of Health’s enthusiastic support for brief therapies such as CBT may be influenced in part by financial considerations however with brief therapies it is true to say that when they work effectively it is best for both patient and the fund holder. An unusual but significant “win win” situation. Extended use of medication is not an effective use of funds if there is a more productive brief intervention .

The recent inclusion of hypnotherapy as a profession which is now regulated by the CNHC means that GPs now have another option in helping patients resolve many psychological and behavioural issues in a fast and effective way. The Department of Health is recommending GPs only refer patients to complementary therapists (including hypnotherapy) whose names appear on the CNHC register that it is ok for GP’s to refer patients to hypnotherapist provided they are registered with the CNHC.

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