NEWS from the Integrated Healthcare Collaborative
IHC marks first year anniversary
Posted: 7 April 2021
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has marked the first anniversary of its formation by thanking everyone who has supported its work throughout the year.
Despite a year filled with huge challenges for our field, caused by the global pandemic, the last 12 months has seen the IHC go from strength to strength, and it has quickly become the collective voice for our field. It is widely regarded as the largest, most diverse and ambitious bringing together of organisations in the complementary, traditional and natural healthcare field anywhere in the world.
IHC members have demonstrated that our field can work effectively together with a collective voice. Our petition calling for a quick and risk based return to work for our therapists and practitioners raced to 20,000 signatures in just 2 weeks! We have taken up issues with governments across the UK to get clarity for therapists about ever changing legislation and regulations, often when our field has been marginalised and ignored. We have fought for assistance when our healthcare professionals have had to stop work, and faced financial hardship. We have, throughout, emphasised the great contribution that complementary, traditional and natural healthcare therapists and practitioners can bring to patients’ health and wellbeing. Every issue and campaign that our members take forward together makes our voice louder.
At the heart of the IHC is the knowledge and expertise of our member organisations, who have over 30,000 therapists and practitioners on their registers, and represent the very best in the field. We thank each of our members for their work and support. As we move forward, IHC members will continue to work together on issues of concern and common areas of interest, make the case for increasing access to these therapies, and promote greater integration with conventional Western medicine in order to improve patient choices and outcomes within our healthcare system.
Thank you everyone for your continued support. We appreciate it. Please continue to share news of our work, campaigns and projects.
IHC calls for greater support for NHS frontline workers with PTSD
Posted: 12 February 2021
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has written to Health Ministers across the UK asking them to grant dispensation for complementary, traditional and natural healthcare therapists and practitioners to support intensive care staff, and other key NHS frontline workers during current Covid restrictions. This action has come following recent reports of high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety in intensive care staff.
The complementary, traditional and natural healthcare sector has played an important, but often unrecognised role, in supporting the health and wellbeing of people, including NHS frontline workers themselves, during the Covid 19 pandemic, where appropriate and permitted by government regulations.
Whilst some therapists and practitioners can carry out online consultations, and statutory regulated ones can continue in person, the majority of close contact therapists and practitioners have had to cease working in the current national lockdown, except those providing for essential medical and health needs which cannot be deferred, as outlined in government legislation. This has prevented people from accessing services to support their health and wellbeing.
IHC members are concerned at the high reported levels of stress and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms exhibited by NHS staff working in Intensive Care Units (ICU) highlighted in the recent research by Greenberg(1). The health and wellbeing of these key frontline staff must be supported during the pandemic, but NHS based therapy services face considerable pressures and capacity issues.
Close contact therapies and practices, in which touch is a key component, have been shown to reduce circulating levels of stress hormones, alleviate depressive symptoms, improve immune function, enhance attentiveness and reduce pain(2).
Therapists and practitioners within IHC member organisations are professionally trained, and follow the government’s strict Covid safe work guidelines. The positive effect of allowing key NHS workers to access these services, if they wish to, could play an important part in maintaining and improving their health and wellbeing as they work in these challenging circumstances, and during the months ahead.
We are therefore urging governments to grant dispensation for complementary, traditional and natural healthcare close contact therapists and practitioners, represented by the IHC, to legally work in order to support NHS front line staff during current Covid restrictions.
1.Mental health of staff working in intensive care during COVID-19 N Greenberg, D Weston, C Hall, T Caulfield, V Williamson, K Fong. Occup Med (Lond). 2021 Jan 13;kqaa220. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqaa220. Online ahead of print.
IHC urges stakeholders to respond to the Professional Standards Authority's consultation on the Accredited Registers Programme
Posted: 27 January 2021
The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has launched a consultation into the future shape of the Accredited Registers programme.
Since 2012, when the PSA was given new powers and duties to accredit voluntary registers, any organisation which meets the criteria has been able to gain accreditation. The proposals within the consultation change many of the original design principles of the programme.
Some of the changes may include a requirement of effectiveness of therapies and treatments, which would be judged by the PSA, setting educational standards, the possible creation of a single register, and a financial commitment based on number of members.
The PSA would also have the discretion on what is included in the programme based on criteria such as “the occupation or role is used or introduced within the NHS or equivalent other public or independent healthcare sector body” and if “Government and/or other public authorities support its inclusion in the programme”.
The proposals within this consultation could have implications across the whole field of complementary, traditional and natural healthcare, and we would encourage as many people as possible to submit a response, to ensure that the PSA receives the views of a wide variety of stakeholders.
You can respond to this consultation paper by following the link above.
The deadline for submissions is 18th February 2021.
IHC calls on governments to designate complementary, traditional and natural therapists as essential workers
Posted: 6 November 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has written to Health Ministers across the UK, calling on them to designate complementary, traditional and natural therapists and practitioners as essential healthcare workers, so that they can continue to support patient health and wellbeing during tier 3 lockdowns and above.
Following the easing of government restrictions imposed during the first national lockdown, the complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry has been working hard to support patients across the UK with a range of health and wellbeing issues.
However, with an increasing number of tier 3 lockdowns, and now national lockdowns, in order to suppress the spread of Covid 19, it appears likely that these very high alert levels will continue for some time to come. It is often during these times of lockdown that patients look for support from this sector. However, under previous government local lockdown regulations, many have not been able to do so. The result is that patients cannot access a range of services which could support their physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing. For these patients, these are essential services.
The industry has worked hard to ensure that therapists and practitioners are working in Covid 19 safe environments, and that they are using government Test and Trace protocols as required. As such, the risk of this industry increasing the incidence of Covid 19 is minimal, yet the benefits to public health and wellbeing could be considerable.
The complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry is professionally run, and professional associations within the IHC have strict codes or conduct and work to the very highest standards of practice. We contribute to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of millions of people across the UK.
IHC believes that the UK Government and devolved administrations must now designate healthcare professionals in this sector as essential workers. This would mean that they can be assured of working during all lockdowns, including tier 3 lockdowns and above, so that they can provide Covid 19 safe services to patients, and additional capacity to support our NHS partners.
IHC urges therapists to keep up-to-date with Covid alert levels
Posted: 16 October 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative has urged complementary, traditional and natural healthcare therapists to make sure they have read the government’s guidance on local Covid alert levels, and what that means for their practice.
For England, it can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-levels-what-you-need-to-know
Local Covid alert levels set out information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area. There are now 3 local Covid alert levels in England.
Medium level is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place, which allows complementary healthcare workers and businesses to operate in a Covid-secure manner following guidance previously issued.
High level is for areas with a higher level of infections where some additional restrictions are in place on top of restrictions in alert level medium. Once again, complementary healthcare workers and businesses can still operate in a Covid-secure manner following guidance previously issued.
Very high level is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary, and are based on discussions between central and local government. This is the baseline in very-high alert level areas. The government will also seek to agree additional interventions in consultation with local authorities, in order to drive down transmission of the virus. This could include closing personal care and close contact services including complementary, traditional and complementary healthcare businesses and services.
You should remain aware of the local rules for your area, if in doubt check the postcode checker to locate which alert tier you are in https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae. Once you are in Tier 3 (very high) then you will need to check for specific announcements regarding close contact services.
If you are in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should refer to guidance issued by your devolved administration.
IHC welcomes three new Core Members
Posted: 11 September 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) is delighted to welcome three new Core Members. The Kinesiology Association (KA), the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) and Emotional Freedom Technique International (EFTI) will all be valuable additions to our growing membership. All have passed our strict membership application procedure, and we look forward to working with them.
The KA was previously known as the Association of Systematic Kinesiology (ASK). It exists to bring to the notice of the public the great value of kinesiology, provide the support of a professional body to its members, advance and promote high standards of ethics, training and practice for KA practitioners, and to maintain a register of professional KA practitioners.
The IFA regulates and accredits standards in aromatherapy for both practitioners and qualification providers. Set up for the safety of the public, it has been a registered charity since 1986. The IFA has high standards of training, and pioneered aromatherapy in the NHS, hospices and care professions, which is why it is as accepted by the UK medical profession as it is today.
EFT International is a UK registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), registered charity number 1176538. It is committed to advancing and upholding the highest standards for education, training, professional development and promotion of the skilful, creative and ethical application of EFT worldwide.
IHC calls for clear guidance for complementary healthcare workers during local lockdowns
Posted: 5 August 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, and Ministers across the UK, asking for the governments to provide clear guidelines during local lockdowns.
In recent weeks, it has become apparent that it may be necessary in the coming months for the government to introduce local lockdowns, often at short notice, in order to contain outbreaks of Covid-19.
Where such restrictions are necessary, the IHC has asked the government to provide clear guidance to workers on what they may, or may not do, during the period of lockdown. At present, the uncertainty and lack of uniformity means that therapists and practitioners, and other workers providing close contact services, do not know what is allowed, especially when measures are brought in at short notice. This could inadvertently result in rules being broken through ambiguity and lack of information.
The IHC has requested, therefore, that the government introduces a clear system covering the following items, so that when local lockdowns are introduced, complementary healthcare workers can readily access information through their local council for simple, clear answers.
close contact services allowed outside high risk zone around face? yes/no
close contact services allowed inside high risk zone around face? yes/no
providing close contact services in salons and clinics? yes/no
providing close contact services in the clients’ homes? yes/no
providing close contact services in dedicated rooms/spaces within practitioners own homes? yes/no
travel allowed for work purposes to points outside area of lockdown? yes/no
travel allowed for work purposes into a lockdown area? yes/no
providing close contact services to clinically vulnerable clients? yes/no
providing close contact services to clinically extremely vulnerable clients? yes/no
other services where social distancing can be maintained? yes/no
The IHC believes that a clear checklist such as above, which local councils could update as appropriate, would provide much needed clarity to help workers in this sector adhere to any restrictions, and contribute towards the effectiveness of local lockdowns.
IHC welcomes first Associate Members
Posted: 23 July 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative is delighted to welcome its first two Associate Members. Since our formation a few months ago we have been approached by many organisations wishing to be part of our work. The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, and Homeopathy UK, are both well-established and highly regarded within the field, and will add to our pool of expertise and knowledge.
The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is the UK voluntary regulator for complementary healthcare practitioners that was set up in 2008 with government funding and support. Its key purpose is to protect the public. CNHC makes the case to government and a wide range of organisations for the use of complementary healthcare to enhance the UK’s health and wellbeing, and seeks to influence policy wherever possible to increase access to the disciplines it registers.
Find our more about CNHC at https://www.cnhc.org.uk
Homeopathy UK was founded in 1902 as the British Homeopathic Association. It is the United Kingdom’s leading homeopathic charity committed to the promotion and practice of homeopathy. It wants homeopathy to be available for everyone who needs it, and offer affordable high-quality healthcare from our network of charitable clinics. Homeopathy UK also funds research and training for homeopaths and medical professionals.
Find out more about Homeopathy UK at https://homeopathy-uk.org
IHC welcomes return to work for complementary, traditional and natural healthcare sector
Posted: 14 July 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has welcomed the government’s announcement last week on close contact services, which means the return to work for therapists and practitioners working in complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry from 13th July in England. The IHC and its member organisations have been working hard for many months to help bring this about.
The last few months have been a difficult time for the whole country, but has a significant impact on this sector, because the majority of workers are self-employed or running small businesses. They are all delighted that they can return to work and start helping patients again, many of whom need support for the challenges that lockdown has brought. The huge level of support for this sector, and its contribution to health and wellbeing, was demonstrated by a change.org petition on the subject, which attracted over 20,000 signatures in 2 weeks.
IHC member organisations have been issuing guidance to their members for some weeks now, so that they can return to practice safely. It will be a great relief to everyone concerned to begin the long road back to normality. The IHC hopes that therapists throughout the UK will be able to return to work without delay, so is continuing to press the Scottish Government.
The IHC is committed to supporting therapists, helping patients, and improving healthcare, and will continue to pursue those goals and build a strong integrated health service which brings together the best of complementary, traditional and natural healthcare with conventional Western medicine.
For more information on the announcement, and the government’s guidance on working safely during Covid-19:
10,000 people sign petition in 4 days calling for the return to work of all complementary healthcare workers
Posted: 30 June 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) backed petition, calling for the government to allow all complementary healthcare workers to be allowed to return to face-to-face consultations, has surged past 10,000 signatures in just 4 days.
IHC member organisations have been calling on the government to help support the safe and quick return of the whole sector for many weeks. On 13th May, over 7 weeks ago, a parliamentary petition was tabled calling for the government to work with them to bring that about. However, that petition, which should have been approved in 7 days, has still not been approved by the Petitions Committee.
The IHC’s Core members took decisive action to ensure that the voices of thousands of therapists and patients did not go unheard, and put down this charge.org petition. In gaining over 10,000 signatures in such a short space of time, this petition has shown the huge support that this industry has around the country. Had the petition been a parliamentary one, it would have now been waiting for an official government response, having obtained 10,000 signatures. The government should take note of that.
Perhaps more than ever, people need mental and physical support, and complementary, traditional and natural healthcare workers want to help the country move forward from Covid-19. All IHC member organisations are committed to the safety of both their members, and patients, and have developed safe return to work guidance, which is in harmony with the government’s own guidance document ‘Keeping workers and clients safe during Covid-19’, published 23rd June.
The IHC hopes that the government will take note of the strength of public feeling displayed by the large number of signatures to the petition, and that it acts now to get the whole of this valuable sector back to work, and help the wider health and wellbeing of the nation.
You can still show your support and sign at:
Inconsistent government lockdown easing policies lack scientific basis and clarity says IHC
Posted: 25 June 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has written to the Prime Minister to demand the government explains its scientific justification for preventing complementary healthcare workers from returning to practice.
The complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry has been fully supportive of, and compliant with, the government’s measures to control the spread of Covid-19. As such, the majority of practitioners and therapists have been unable to provide consultations in person, although many have continued to support clients remotely where possible.
However, in recent weeks, the government has allowed professions, such as physiotherapists and podiatrists, who practise in a setting and mode of practice akin to complementary, traditional and natural healthcare workers, to return to work. In addition, hairdressers and barbers, who also provide close contact services, have now been told by the government that they too can return to work, as long as they take precautions.
The IHC is concerned that there does not appear to be any logic, clarity, or scientific basis to the government’s decision-making in this area. Indeed, many complementary healthcare workers believe that this policy is unfair, inconsistent, and discriminatory. The result is that this valuable sector of the healthcare workforce, and clients who use their services, continue to suffer.
Healthcare professionals in this sector contribute to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of millions of people across the UK. They want to return to practice as soon as possible, but cannot, because of this continued confusion and non-science-based policy-making by the government.
The IHC has asked the Prime Minister to publish the government’s scientific advice and justification for continuing to prevent the return to practice of this sector of the healthcare workforce, and to provide clarity on when they will be able to do so.
IHC asks Health Ministers to support complementary healthcare workers in returning to work quickly and safely
Posted: 11 May 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has written to Health Ministers across the UK to ask that complementary, traditional and natural healthcare therapists and practitioners be supported in a quick and safe return to work, highlighting the contribution they can make to health and wellbeing as the country recovers from Covid-19.
The complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry has been fully supportive of, and compliant with, the Government’s measures to control the spread of Covid-19. As such, the majority of practitioners and therapists have been unable to practice normally during these difficult times, although many have continued to support patients remotely where possible.
These healthcare professionals contribute to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of millions of people across the UK, and want to play their part in helping the country move forward in the aftermath of Covid-19. Thousands of workers in this sector want to return to practice as soon as it is safe to do so, and are waiting for detailed Government guidance on how it intends to begin to ease the lockdown. One of the key issues facing professional associations is how their members, who usually work face to face with their clients, will be able to safely return to practice.
There are concerns that practitioners and therapists will be unable to secure face masks and hand sanitisers when they return to work, if Government advice requires their use as part of ensuring a safe working environment during Covid-19.
The IHC has asked the Government whether, in making preparations for allowing this valuable part of the healthcare workforce to return to work, it will consider how it can assist complementary, traditional and natural healthcare professionals in ensuring Covid-19 safe workplaces, and in securing the necessary supplies to work safely? If practitioners and therapists have to source their own, they risk being exploited financially through elevated prices, or being unable to acquire the necessary equipment in order to protect themselves and their patients.
IHC believes that these healthcare professionals can positively enhance the health and wellbeing of the population in the aftermath of Covid-19, and urges the Government to help them do so quickly and safely.
IHC calls for further assistance for self-employed complementary healthcare workers during Covid-19 crisis
Posted: 16 April 2020
The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has welcomed the Government’s announcement of the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme on 26th March, as much of the complementary healthcare industry falls into this category.
However, there are concerns that Government action in this area will not reach a considerable number of these workers, leading to financial hardship for this valued subsection of the working population.
This group includes those:
• who became self-employed after April 5th 2019
• who have invested much of their profit in the start-up of their new business
These workers will receive no support unless they fit into the tight constraints of the Universal Credit system, which was originally developed for non-workers.
Some of our members have only been self-employed for this tax year, others have invested their net income, but all have shown commitment to their new careers by financing their training, completing a qualification, and by registering with a professional membership body. We would suggest that, where these criteria have been met, the Government offers some support at this difficult time.
We propose that there is a grant of £550 per month for any complementary healthcare worker who does not currently receive the employment or self-employment grants, but who holds a full membership with one of our recognised complementary healthcare organisations as of 1st January 2020.
This will provide, in some part, analogous provision with Government supported employees and the self-employed. This grant is comparable to those that have not been working, but on Universal Credit at £318 per month, and is currently less than the basic pension. The same grant of £550 could be provided to any workers that currently receive no support because they have chosen to show entrepreneurial spirit and re-invested their income in their new businesses, and therefore show little profit to date. The self-employed grant is wholly based on an ability to show profit, which many small businesses especially at start-up, do not.
This grant should also be provided, therefore, as a top-up to those businesses that have small profits reimbursed by the self-employment income support scheme but that deliver less than £550 per month.
Secondly, where there are part-employed workers that depend on supplementing their paid income with their self-employment, there is now a considerable gap between their situation, and what both the employed and the self-employed receive, with 80% of their usual income protected by the Government’s income protection schemes.
Where income tax is paid annually on self-employment, regardless of any other income, the Government Self-employment Income Support Scheme should provide the standard profit-based grant. This would ensure parity for the part-time self-employed.
Whilst IHC members appreciate the challenge the Government faces in supporting workers in need, but also preventing fraud, we ask it to show fairness and parity in its approach, and accept that some workers do not fall into the narrow boundaries of the current financial relief.
We have therefore written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, calling for action to limit financial hardship for this subsection of the self-employed, which could prevent many micro businesses going out of business in the aftermath of Covid-19.