Posted on

UK Blog Awards 2017 Health & Fitness Mixer

library

Hammersmith Health Books are proud to be sponsoring the Health and Social Care category at the 2017 UK Blog Awards. Last week we threw an event with Action PR to celebrate our partnership with the UK Blog Awards and the fantastic entries to the brand new Sport and Fitness category. We met some very inspirational people who have chosen to share their health journeys through the medium of blogging. It was lovely to see new friendships form as people were able to put faces to those who they had previously only known by their blog names. It was also announced that the stunning Chessie King, who inspires her many Instagram followers with her sunny attitude and her dedication to health and fitness, will be hosting the UK Blog Awards.

In keeping with the theme of the Awards, which will be ‘blog heroes’, Action PR sourced an array of weird and wonderful fancy dress outfits. Throwing themselves into the spirit in true superhero style, the bloggers embraced the theme and posed for photos. With a giftcard up for grabs (generously donated by Active in Style), our very own Director Georgina Bentliff was tasked with judging the snaps and awarding the prize to the best one. The winner went to the delightful Patricia, whose battle with ME and record breaking rowing success was a truly humbling journey to follow, documented on her blog, Girl on the River.

The event was catered by the wonderful Mr Prempy’s, who provided raw vegan cakes, from chocolate ganache to beetroot and passion fruit. Bloggers and judges mingled, cake and prosecco in hand, with some feeling distinctly merry by the end of the evening. We went home armed with Action PR chocolate bars, healthy takes on traditional Mars and Snickers bars, full of raw cacao and other delicious ingredients.

Hopefully there weren’t too many sore heads the next morning! Thank you to Action PR for a wonderful mixer and a great opportunity to meet some fantastic bloggers and influencers in the health and fitness space.

Are you a #bloghero? Don’t forget to enter your blog the The UK Blog Awards 2017.

Posted on

UK Blog Awards for Health & Social Care

The UK Blog Awards 2016 are now open for nominations, and we’re hugely pleased to announce that Hammersmith Health Books will be sponsoring the Health & Social Care category.

We love the variety and quality of blogs on all aspects of health and caring in the UK, and the UK Blog Awards are a fantastic opportunity to give much needed recognition to the blogs that mean the most to their readers. We’re so excited to be involved!

Nominated blogs pass a public vote round before the final awards are decided by specialist judging panels for each category. This year, our founder and director Georgina Bentliff will be on the Health & Social Care judging panel.

All short listed blogs will gain exposure and reach new audiences, as well as having the chance to connect with more brands.

The UK Blog Awards were created in 2014 to recognise true viral style and creative excellence across 16 UK industries, as well as awarding two sub-categories: Best Storyteller and Most Innovative award. The awards are more than an event, but a digital outreach platform that connects blogs with brands. There will also be Blog of the Year Award, sponsored by Odeon, giving winners from each category the chance to win extra prestige in the blogging community.

We’ve also teamed up with Action PR to co-host a blogger event in London where hopeful award winners can learn more about what the judges will be looking for, and network with brands and other bloggers. There’ll be a selection of our books available for bloggers to take away and read on health issues from chronic fatigue to irritable bowel syndrome, dementia care to vegan food, and everything in between.

If you’d like to follow some of our authors’ blogs check out:

Max Tuck, The Raw Food Scientist, author of Love Your Bones and The Whole Body Solution

Martyn Hooper, Chair of the Pernicious Anaemia Society, author of Pernicious Anaemia – The Forgotten Disease, Living with Pernicious Anaemia, and What You Need to Know About Pernicious Anaemia

Jenna Farmer, A Balanced Belly, book on IBS and IBD coming soon.

Dr Megan Arroll, psychologist and author of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Navigating Your Way to Health

For more info on the awards and how to enter click here, and browse all our health and social care titles here.

Posted on

How to work out what’s wrong with your bowel

Apart from the red flag symptoms listed in the previous blog, where do you start when trying to work out what’s up with your gut?

You can help yourself and your doctor by:

Keeping a diary of your symptoms.

It helps your doctor make a diagnosis if you can be specific about how long you’ve had your symptoms, what they are, what seems to trigger them or whether they are present all the time, and how much weight you have lost. Keeping a diary of your gut symptoms will help you remember and give your doctor valuable information. One gastroenterologist has told how increasingly patients will photograph or video their bloated stomachs on their mobile phones to document their symptoms.

Not being embarrassed.

People literally die of embarrassment because they can’t get their heads round describing their stools/piles/diarrhoea to their doctors. Get over it. If you don’t like describing what your poo looks like ask your doctor if you can point it out on the Bristol Stool Chart.

Mentioning any family history of gut disease to your doctor.

Some complaints do have a genetic basis so it will be another piece in the jigsaw for your doctor if you can supply details of conditions such as bowel cancer or inflammatory bowel diseases in your immediate family. (Volunteer this if they don’t ask you first.)

Not cutting out food groups on a hunch.

If you do have an autoimmune condition, such as coeliac disease, where the body reacts to gluten and causes bowel symptoms, it’s important you don’t cut out any foods you suspect are to blame, such as bread or breakfast cereals, until your condition has been fully investigated. This is because you may need a gut biopsy to confirm your diagnosis (the villi – fingerlike projections in the gut which absorb nutrients – will be damaged and shrunken if you have coeliac disease) and if you have stopped eating gluten they may have returned to normal, giving a false negative diagnosis.

Being persistent.

If your doctor has told you to eat more bran to help with constipation and your symptoms are getting worse, go back and tell him or her. Whilst eating more fibre helps in a lot of cases of constipation, in up to 30 per cent of cases it doesn’t. (The cause could be slow transit in the gut, in which case too much fibre will make it worse!)

Not self-medicating for the long term.

Obviously it’s fine to buy over-the-counter remedies if your gut problems are short term, but if you are relying on laxatives, antacids or anti-diarrhoea medication in the long term it’s advisable to see a doctor and find out the underlying cause.

Finding reliable sources of information.

There are an awful lot of ‘snake oil’ salesmen out there on the internet, peddling dodgy cures or extreme diets with no good science to recommend them. Charities are good sources of accurate information about managing your condition and their online resources are written in a reader-friendly consumer style. Don’t forget organisations such as NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) produce guideline summaries on the management of health conditions written especially for patients, setting out clearly what investigations and treatments are recommended.

For more information and advice on how to manage difficult bowel symptoms and improve gut health problems such as IBS and IBD, read What’s Up With Your Gut, out now.

Posted on

Recognising red flags when suffering from bowel problems

There are some gut symptoms associated with bowel problems you should never ignore and we thought it best to flag them up here – if you are think these symptoms may apply to you talk to your doctor. Chances are it’s nothing to worry about, but better safe than sorry.

New symptoms

A lot of people endure symptoms such as pain, alternating bowel habits and food intolerance. These may have gone on for a long time, fluctuating in intensity and are sometimes helped by one or two dietary changes, and sometimes not. But recent changes are likely to be more serious than something that has persisted for years. If you had similar problems in your 20s to those in your 50s  and in between), it is unfortunate that you may have had to wait so long to get any answers, but it is not likely to be a life-threatening condition. If the symptoms have just started, it is far more worrying.

Don’t be embarrassed. Help your GP assess what needs to be done. Be sure to describe how long you have had the symptoms and explain exactly what you mean. In particular, be sure to tell your GP about the following symptoms as they may indicate a serious condition:

  • abdominal pain and fever
  • anaemia
  • blood in your stools
  • change in bowel habits
  • jaundice and definite lumps you can feel
  • unexplained weight loss.

Abdominal pain and fever

Fever and sharp, stabbing abdominal pain can have several causes and you may need to go to A&E or even call an ambulance if these are severe and sudden in onset.

Anaemia

Anaemia, which will make you look pale and feel tired, may be due to hidden (‘occult’) blood loss, and your GP may organise for you to have an endoscopy and/or colonoscopy, together with blood tests for coeliac disease, iron, B12 and folate deficiency.

Blood in your stools

Blood in your stools must be investigated. If it occurs only on wiping the anus with toilet tissue, it may just be haemorrhoids (piles) or an anal fissure (tear), but this should be checked by an examination, and then perhaps by a limited flexible sigmoidoscopy. If there is blood mixed in with the stools, you should be referred to a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon and have further tests, such as colonoscopy (or possibly a CT scan), to be certain bowel cancer and ulcerative colitis have been excluded. These are major diseases which are much more successfully treated if caught early and are not difficult to diagnose with the proper tests, so get your GP to refer you to a gastroenterologist if you suspect one of these. Although bowel cancer increases in likelihood as you get older, it is common enough that people aged 40 to 50 or younger can get it. If you know that you have a family history of bowel cancer you are also more at risk. The good news is that, when you have had a colonoscopy, you can be sure for quite a long time (several years) that this has been excluded as the cause of your symptoms. The faecal calprotectin test is now also useful in predicting if you do need a colonoscopy. If you are older, be sure to get the routine screening tests that are now offered.

Change in bowel habits

If you have a recent change in your bowel habit, then tell your GP and be prepared to get more tests. Clearly, if everyone in your family has just got the same symptoms after eating the same food, or you have just come back from an area where gastroenteritis is common, and the symptoms are not too bad, you can wait a week or two to see whether things go back to normal. But if they do not, and particularly if there is blood in the stools, then you MUST get tests.

Jaundice and definite lumps you can feel

Jaundice symptoms (yellow eyes and skin) and definite lumps, particularly if they are tender, must not be ignored. The lumps may turn out to be only hard faeces but you want to be sure that a definite diagnosis is made in case it might be an inflamed gall bladder, an ovarian or another cyst, or possibly a stomach or bowel tumour. Hernias in the groin or in other places in the abdomen may also feel like painful lumps and can also cause problems until they are treated.

Unexplained weight loss

Unexplained weight loss is important and will lead to other blood tests and probably hospital referral. Sometimes there is a gut disease (coeliac disease or Crohn’s disease, for instance) or cancer, but in other cases can be due to an endocrine disorder, such as an over-active thyroid, or to a wide range of other disorders, including neurological or mental health problems (you cannot buy, cook or chew your food), or cannot easily eat (dental problems, for instance or Alzheimer’s). These should be fairly easy for your GP to diagnose.

It can be very hard to start figuring out what’s up with your gut, so listen to your body and be aware of any possible symptoms that you should tell a doctor or other health professional who may be able to help. For less serious conditions, just keeping track of how you feel can help you to improve your symptoms on your own.

For more advice on how to track your symptoms and get to the bottom of your bowel issues read our next blog: Working out what’s wrong with your bowel, and order your copy of What’s Up With Your Gut? by Jo Waters and Professor Julian Walters.

Posted on

Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

When dementia takes hold you need outside support because, as people get worse, they cannot be left alone for any length of time and the carer needs to share the burden with others.

When it comes to dementia you cannot ‘go it alone’. It doesn’t matter whether you are independent and used to managing your own affairs, that you’re ‘not a sociable person’ or are used to ‘keeping yourselves to yourselves’. You as a couple (carer and person with dementia) may pride yourselves on one, any, or all of these virtues, but it is important once dementia strikes that you re-think your attitudes.

Why do you need a support team?

A person who has dementia can NOT live alone successfully, and in a perfect world we would never expect them to do so. ‘Care packages’ that involve carers calling in once, twice or even three times a day to help someone living alone are only a stop-gap measure. Very good carers who take pride in their work and genuinely care about their clients can make a difference, but they cannot replace the constant watchful presence that is required in all cases except the very early stages of dementia. Sometimes, however, this kind of care is the only and right option at the time and in this case it is important to get the very best care package that you can as long as it is possible to manage this way.

On the other hand, spouses and partners who live with someone who has dementia are put under constant stress as they try to look after them. Living with another person – even when they are in good health – requires constant compromise as we adjust our habits, actions and conversation in the interests of ‘rubbing along together’. Over many years these actions and adjustments become habitual, but they still remain. The most important thing to remember and take note of is that in any social situation all persons are involved in this constant compromise. Of course we can recognise that most partnerships are unequal and that one partner may take more adjustments than the other.

Usually the person who makes more adjustments to the will of another does this willingly. Nevertheless, living with someone involves a constant daily compromise between pleasing ourselves and pleasing another. But people who have dementia gradually lose their ability to see another person’s point of view – they lose their ability to empathise, to understand the everyday compromises that kept the partnership going. The partner who is the carer is left making all the compromises – possibly without even the satisfaction of a shared sense of humour or of togetherness – and certainly without the feelings of support they may have once had from their partner.

This is a burden no one, however loving and dedicated, should carry alone.

If you are a carer in this situation you can build a team to help you.

Who will be on your team?

Your support team can consist of anyone who is prepared to give time and help to you and the person you are caring for: family, friends, neighbours, professional carers, staff in a day centre and support workers from organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Society can all be included.

For more support and guidance on building your team read The Essential Carer’s Guide to Dementia by Mary Jordan, available as paperback and ebook.

This blog was published for World Alzheimer’s Month #RememberMe

Posted on

What is emotional eating?

There is no single definition of typical emotional eating. It’s a common misconception that all emotional eaters are overweight. Many are within normal weight range but only because of their obsessive dieting, bingeing and disordered eating that will be a well-kept secret they share with no one. The same negative judgements emotional eaters make about themselves are common to the overweight and the obese, and the dangerously underweight for that matter. All share the trait of unrelenting over-thinking about food coupled with harsh, critical self-judgements.

To give you a sense of a typical emotional eater you need to understand that their innate sense of self-worth – how they actually see themselves as a worthy person – is closely linked to the numbers on their bathroom scales. A pound lost, or a pound gained, can set the tenor of their entire day. Also, foods are never neutral. They are forensically studied and determined to be good or bad.

Emotional eaters battle with their own body’s hunger and cravings. They know there have been times when they have succumbed and eaten one ‘bad’ food only for it to start a tsunami of overeating, or even bingeing and purging, with all the accompanying feelings of shame and self-loathing. An emotional eater’s attitude towards him/herself and food is not logical. The extent of his/her preoccupation with food and body weight is often a private source of great personal distress and shame. The reasons for this all-consuming link between food, body weight, self-definition, and how the individual feels about being him/herself in the world, are varied and inevitably complex.

Let’s be clear, and define emotional eating as a behaviour that occurs only in the developed world, the lands of perceived plenty. Negative selfjudgements; obsessive over-thinking about calories; skipping meals; bingeing and purging; or any of the other many aspects of emotional eating do not exist in countries of food scarcity or where people struggle for survival. It’s noteworthy that as third world countries emerge economically onto the world stage they open their doors to western influences and their seductive power. The socially mobile classes of any indigenous population quickly develop a taste for western fashion, and music, as well as western foods. The Standard American Diet of refined carbohydrates, calorie-dense fast-foods and fizzy drinks is now exported all over the world. Adopting it is a way of aping western consumption, and values, and can be found in the cities of China, Russia and India, as well, increasingly, as in more remote outposts. It also causes sectors of the population of these countries to judge themselves negatively against the narrow, westernised standard of perfection. With that comes self-dissatisfaction – a step on the road to emotional eating that was not apparent just a few decades ago.

Are you an emotional eater?

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think you might be an emotional eater:

Too much on your plate?

Swallowing down your anger with food?

Frustrated at your yo-yo dieting?

Eating when bored, or on your own?

Feeling out of control around food?

Eating in secret?

Bingeing and purging?

Feeling sad and eating to fill a void inside?

Rewarding yourself with food after a hard day?

If you answer yes to any of these questions you might be an emotional eater. For more information about how to understand and manage your emotional eating, read Seven Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating – targeting your body by changing your mind by Sally Baker & Liz Hogan.

Posted on

The Myth of Somatization

The Myth iof Somatization

Symptoms and signs

During any consultation, the patient and practitioner seek to bridge a gulf of subjective meaning. The events the patient notices and tries to describe are ‘symptoms’; the doctor, meanwhile, is also looking for ‘signs’—usually described as ‘objective indications’ of disease or disorder. In some cases, the disease is readily identifiable (say, jaundice) because the signs are evident.

Somatization,  functional illness and hypochondriasis

However, where the practitioner favors signs to the exclusion of symptoms, problems can arise. In the absence of readily observable signs, due diligence and medico-legal concerns usually mean that the patient will be referred on to one or more specialists for further consultations and tests. Where no pathology is identified, the patient is at risk of being stigmatized as ‘somatizing’, suffering from ‘psychosomatic’, ‘somatoform’ or ‘conversion’ disorder, ‘functional illness’, or ‘hypochondriasis’.

None of these nominalized terms is particularly helpful, because none of them provides insight into the problem. Moreover, they tend to exclude the patient’s experience, the context within which his problem arises. Patients are quick to detect the underlying suggestion that what is ailing them is ‘all in the mind’. If they do not medicate the patient, many doctors are quick to outsource the problem to psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors (where available), reinforcing the picture of troublesome neurotics wasting the medical profession’s valuable time.

The Medical NLP approach

Medical NLP regards ‘somatization’, with its overtones of neuroticism, as a fiction. Not only do imbalances within the body–mind system express themselves somatically, both as some kind of physical felt sense and in changes in cellular function or structure, but we cannot have any experience without some physical movement or manifestation.

As ‘open adaptive systems’, we humans are constantly processing billions of bits of data, both exteroceptive (from outside the body) and enteroceptive (from within), most of which are filtered out of our conscious awareness. When these processes pass a certain threshold, they come into the subject’s awareness as somatic events, which are then subjected to descriptions, inferences, and evaluations, by both the ‘experts’ reviewing the condition and the patient suffering from its effects.

Diagnosis is not the disease

However, we should not confuse the descriptions and inferences we use as convenient forms of classification with the event itself. The diagnosis is not the disease. The symptom is not the problem. The problem is the problem, and the symptom is the signal that the problem has not yet been recognized and resolved.

For more insight into bridging the gap between patient and practitioner using Medical NLP visit The Society of Medical NLP website and read Garner Thomson’s Magic in Practice: The Art and Science of Language in Healing and Health available as ebook and paperback.

Posted on

The Truth about Vitamin D and Sun Exposure

Vitamin D and strong bones

This is the vitamin we have all heard of in relation to strong bones. It is actually a hormone, made from cholesterol. Vitamin D is made in the skin upon exposure to ultraviolet light (UVB rays). Vitamin D deficiency is becoming rife in our society, and it has been linked to numerous other medical problems.

From the skin where it is formed, Vitamin D travels to the liver, where it is converted to a ‘storage’ form. When vitamin D is needed, some of the stored form is transported to the kidneys, where it is converted by an enzyme to a ‘supercharged’ form known as 1,25 D, which is 1000 times more active.

If the diet is high in animal protein, the converting enzyme cannot function effectively and the process of producing 1,25 D is adversely affected. Likewise, those with high levels of stress might be inadvertently affecting their vitamin D levels due to high levels of cortisol, which reduces vitamin D absorption.

Vitamin D is essential for calcium and phosphorus absorption in the gut and its deposition into the bones. If calcium consumption is too high (such as with overuse of chalk-based supplements) it lowers the activity of the kidney converting enzyme, and the levels of 1,25 D fall, indicating that high calcium diets are not necessarily better for us.

Raw plant diets and Vitamin D

About 90% of our vitamin D supplies come from sun exposure, not food. However, certain mushrooms have been shown to have relatively good levels and are used in supplementation regimes. The humble stinging nettle gives a good supply, so put some gloves on and pick some fresh nettles to go in your daily green juice. You may hear that the only food source of vitamin D is from animal products. This is not actually the case – we just have to be a bit more resourceful in where we look. In fact, an interesting study indicated that people following a living-foods, uncooked plant-based diet absorbed and maintained higher levels of vitamin D.

There exists considerable controversy about sun exposure. How many times have we heard that we have to wear at least factor 15 sunblock before we consider venturing outside, even in the UK in winter? We seem to have become so consumed with the fear of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, that many of us get insufficient sun exposure to stimulate adequate vitamin D production.

Vitamin D deficiency

It is estimated that half the population of the UK is deficient in vitamin D in the winter, with as many as one in six being classified as severely deficient. Those more at risk are the dark skinned who live too far away from the equator, women who use a traditional religious dress which prevents any exposure of their skin to the sun, and anyone who lives at latitudes greater than 40 degrees north or south of the equator.

Additionally, those living in a polluted environment will have less exposure to UVB, since air pollution blocks some of the UVB rays reaching us. Older people also seem to have a lower rate of production of vitamin D in the skin when exposed to sunlight.

Use some common sense. Do not go out in the sun at midday at the equator and stay there for three hours; build up gradually. After a long winter, expose slowly, for a few minutes a day, if you have very pale skin. Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm as a general rule. But do expose!

Sunblock and Vitamin D production

Regarding sunblock, avoid chemical sunblocks, since the skin will absorb practically everything you put onto it. Personally I never use sunblock unless I am up a mountain (altitude increases your ‘dose’ of UVB rays), and I am well known for my love of being out in the sun. My favourite form of protection is close-woven cotton clothes, as recommended by the Vitamin D Council.

A final word of warning regarding sun exposure supplying you with adequate vitamin D is that if you shower within 12 hours of the sun exposure, you wash off the oils in the skin that are being converted. New studies even indicate that it could be up to 48 hours before the vitamin D has been absorbed, and most people would certainly have showered by then. The advice therefore would be to go out in the sun early in the day, and not shower until the following morning.

I recommend that anyone concerned about their vitamin D levels, and whether they should be supplementing, get tested for 1,25 D. I advise against indiscriminate supplementation with vitamin D, particularly if you have regular sun exposure. When you take vitamin D, the body creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins that move calcium around in the body. Without vitamin K2, those proteins remain inactivated, so their benefits are unrealised. This is why, when supplementing, I recommend supplements that contain 1,25 D and K2 together, for the best health benefits. Taken together, these two nutrients keep the calcium in your bones and improve heart health by preventing the arteries and other soft tissues from becoming calcified.

For more information on raw plant diets and natural ways to support your health read Max Tuck’s books Love Your Bones and The Whole Body Solution, and follow @MaxTuck on twitter.

This extract is taken from Love Your Bones, the essential guide to ending osteoporosis and building a healthy skeleton available as ebook and paperback.

Further Reading:

15 Health Benefits of Vitamin D, According to Science (+15 Best Vitamin D Foods)

Posted on

Prevent, reverse and treat diabetes and its precursor: metabolic syndrome

Most people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome conditions regard them as inevitable evils and agree to take the medicine – or inject the insulin – when the time comes. But it need not be that way. Sustainable medicine expert Dr Myhill explains in her new book steps anyone can take not only to prevent the onset of the disease, but to actually reverse and treat diabetes, and the condition that underlies it: metabolic syndrome.

Self help to prevent and treat diabetes

As Dr Myhill writes: ‘All medical therapies should start with diet. Modern Western diets are driving our modern epidemics of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia; this process is called metabolic syndrome. In Prevent and Cure Diabetes: Delicious Diets, Not Dangerous Drugs I explain in detail why and how we have arrived at a situation where the real weapons of mass destruction can be found in our kitchens. Importantly, the book describes the vital steps every one of us can make to reverse the situation so that life can be lived to its full potential.’

To celebrate Dr Sarah Myhill’s latest book we want to share some of the key things you can do to help yourself prevent onset and treat diabetes. Looking after our own bodies is not just a cost effective and sustainable approach to health care, but a responsibility we have to ourselves and our loved ones. After all,

‘Prevention is better than cure.’

– Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536)

  1. Keep your gut healthy and reduce the carbohydrate load from the gut by

    • eating a low glycaemic index (GI) diet;
    • avoiding a sugar rush;
    • including more fat in the diet;
    • eating more vegetable fibre.
  2. Improve your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar by

    • only eating carbohydrates at one meal a day (and no snacking) and going without starchy carbs for one day a week;
    • exercising;
    • taking nutritional supplements for essential micronutrients that are deficient in the diet.
    • avoiding particular prescription drugs that induce insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
    • detoxify the body from the outside too with regular hot showers, sauna-ing and/or Epsom salt baths.
  3. Ensure your thyroid and adrenal glands are healthy and functioning well.

  4. Prevent inflammation by doing all the above, ensuring good quality sleep, exercise, sunshine, and love and laughter.

  5. Adopt strategies that encourage fat burning, which is highly protective against too low blood sugar levels.

For more from Dr Myhill visit her website and read the first chapter for free before ordering your copy of Prevent and Cure Diabetes: Delicious Diets, Not Dangerous Drugs available in paperback and ebook.

Posted on

Longer GP visits will save the NHS money

Both the British Medical Association and Glasgow researchers have reinforced the Society of Medical NLP’s claims that longer sessions for patients visiting a GP will save the NHS money.

In Magic in Practice (London:Hammersmith), the authors, Garner Thomson and Khalid Khan, point out that patients who were allowed to express their “uninterrupted story” to a doctor who was trained to address the context of the complaint as well as the content would dramatically reduce the number of visits required to resolve the issue.

Four GP practices in Glasgow offered  patients with complex chronic conditions (of the kind specifically addressed by Medical NLP) consultations lasting 30 minutes or more. Not only was the condition diagnosed, but personal problems were dealt with and care plan devised and suitable goals negotiated with the patient – similar to the “Ko Mei” format of Medical NLP.

The result was a measurable drop in “negative wellbeing” and a significant increase in quality of life.

The results are published here in the journal BMC Medicine.

The BMA has also called for the rigid 10-minute timetables to be replaced with a more a flexible system enabling doctors to spend more time with patients with more complex needs.

To learn more about Medical NLP read Magic In Practice: Introducing Medical NLP by Garner Thomson with Dr Khalid Khan, and let us know what you think about saving the NHS @HHealthBooks on twitter.