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There’s an old saying that, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”.
Most people who take a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing have always recognised that prevention is better than cure. It’s an idea that goes back to the earliest systems of medical care, whether that be Hippocrates favouring a plant-based diet, or the Traditional Chinese Medicine practice of only paying your doctor when you are well. Now, it seems like the UK government is coming around to this way of thinking, too.
At the start of November, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the International Association of National Public Health Institutes about his vision to help people make healthier choices. The government will introduce a white paper on this approach in 2019. Healthier choices mean better health. Better health means shifting our priorities towards a more holistic, person-centred, approach to health, rather than simply offering a bottle of pills.
As Mr. Hancock pointed out, financial and other healthcare resources are limited, yet we have no wish to move to a model of private, paid-for health care. In the USA, unpaid medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. No-one wants a healthcare system where those without deep pockets can’t afford treatment. No-one wants a system where a hospital charges parents to hold their own new born baby.
Changing behaviours, whether that’s as individuals or on a national scale, isn’t easy. It takes time, dedication, effort and resources. People cannot be force into making better, healthier choices and sometimes the short term appeal of a glass of wine at the end of the day, or a bar of chocolate, overpowers our intentions to eat well and take better care of our long-term health. Temptation trumps prevention unless we think about the wider issues.
Mr. Hancock asserts that we need to use, “the health service carefully, with consideration for others, and to comply with medical advice to look after ourselves. We need to pay more attention to our responsibilities, as well as our rights. We need a radical shift in how the NHS sees itself, from a hospital service for the ill, to a nationwide service to keep us healthy.
“Our focus must shift from treating single acute illnesses to promoting the health of the whole individual. And from prevention across the population as a whole to targeted, predictive prevention”.
The minister is correct. By making the right choices, we can ensure a healthier, happier future for us all.
We’re here to help you do just that!
Alison and Everyone at Holistic Health Magazine