MP David Tredinnick supports integrated healthcare

2 years ago

MP, advocate of alternative medicine and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare (previously Integrated and Complementary Healthcare) since 2002, David Tredinnick spoke in parliament recently during the debate on the Queen's speech of the need for sustainable medicine.  See the link below for his full speech plus a transcript of the relevant section:

 "I am most grateful to be called to speak on this first day of the Queen’s Speech debate. I echo colleagues’ remarks about the excellence of the speeches that we heard at the beginning from my hon. Friends the Members for North East Derbyshire (Lee Rowley) and for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton).

I do not know whether you recall, Madam Deputy Speaker, that the House of Commons gift shop used to sell a fridge magnet featuring the words of a certain British comedian, Spike Milligan. My hon. Friend the Member for Southend West (Sir David Amess) remembers it. Those words were “One day the don’t knows will get in, and then where will we be?” I fear that there is a danger that we shall be known as the “don’t know Parliament”.

This is the second Long Parliament. My hon. Friend the Member for Southend West referred to the first Long Parliament and he may recall what Oliver Cromwell said on 20 April 1653:

“Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d…In the name of God, go!"

My hon. Friend is nodding.

I pray, in the earnest sense of the word, that on Saturday this House determines this matter of Brexit. I speak as a just-remainer who represents a midlands constituency that voted 60/40 out. I believe I have a moral duty to get my constituents out of Europe, and that the authority of the electorate—we delegated power to the electorate—supersedes anything passed by this House. It may be a legal nicety that the referendum was not legally binding, but woe betide this House if it ignores the will of the people.

We need a bit of luck in politics, and I cannot believe my luck seeing the Minister of State for Health my hon.—or probably right hon.—Friend the Member for Gosport (Caroline Dinenage) sitting on the Front Bench, because I am intending to talk about health. Of course, one of the problems with the Queen’s Speech is that if we try to talk about the subject we wish to talk about someone like you, Madam Deputy Speaker, gets up and says “We have to restrict the debate to four”—or three or two—“minutes,” so we end up with no debate at all.  As my perspicacious hon. Friend the Member for Southend West knows and pointed out, one of the joys of being lucky enough to be called on the first day, however, is that we might get a chance to make a longer speech, so I am particularly grateful to be called, and I want to talk about the health measures in the Queen’s Speech and, if I have time, say a word about the environment.

I absolutely welcome the 40 new hospitals that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has committed to, and I am particularly excited because Leicester, with the Royal Infirmary, the General and Glenfield, is going to be part of that massive hospital upgrade programme. I would like to think that when my right hon. Friend the Health Secretary came to Hinckley and saw what we were doing there—he visited an integrated healthcare clinic, where he saw chiropractors and massage therapists working together, apart from the main hospital—that might have influenced his decision.

Madam Deputy Speaker, it will be no secret to you and possibly the Minister of State that I have argued pretty much all my parliamentary career for integrated healthcare. I note that an integrated healthcare Bill was referred to in the Queen’s Speech, but I do not think it is quite the integration that I have been looking for, which is a wider range of treatments available on the NHS. I will go further today, in what might be my last speech—it will certainly be my last contribution to a Queen’s Speech debate—in what has so far been a 32-year career as I am standing down and say that, despite my support for these 40 hospitals, I think we need a new health paradigm. If we look around at what is happening outside—the Attenborough effect, worries about plastics and the Antarctic, not to mention activities recently—we can see that what we really need now is a sustainable healthcare policy. [Interruption.] My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart) is getting a phone message.

Bob Stewart

It is totally in support of you.

David Tredinnick

I am glad, and I wasn’t expecting that; Madam Deputy Speaker, I hope you will waive the rule that says electronic devices are not allowed to be used in support of a cause.

We really need a new paradigm. We need a new health paradigm and that paradigm must look at the carbon footprint of drugs among other things, and it must look at how we are deploying resources in the health service. I have to say to my hon. Friend the Minister that there is a reluctance on the part of the medical establishment to share any space or any resources with anything it does not control itself. I cite in evidence the Osteopaths Act 1993 and the Chiropractors Act 1994. I sat on both those Bills; they were private Members’ Bills and they became Acts of Parliament. We were told beforehand, “The osteopaths and chiropractors do not have proper regulations so how can we bring them into the health service?” Well, they have now got proper regulation; they are regulated by Acts of Parliament, but where in the country do we find them working with orthopaedic surgeons? The osteopaths and the chiropractors have a carbon zero footprint—and the western acupuncturists for that matter have a carbon zero footprint—and they can help these practitioners in our hospitals. I would  like to see a small percentage of the money going to these new hospitals put towards a broader base of treatment.

The Professional Standards Authority was set up by the Government to regulate, with oversight, a whole range of professions from sports therapists to all sorts of other therapists. I have argued so many times that the Government should respect the PSA’s own request that it be taken seriously and can refer cases that it sees to doctors. It is almost as if it does not exist. The Government speak with forked tongue on this, and I am really concerned about it, so I ask my hon. Friend—who perhaps will be winding up the debate—if she will look at that.

One third of the world’s population already has sustainable healthcare so this is hardly a novel approach. China, which has a population of 1.4 billion, has its traditional 4,000-year-old herbal medicine system and acupuncture, and India has a sustainable health ministry and a 4,000-year-old medical system plus the world’s greatest usage of homeopathy.

I have just been to India for a week at the request of its Government; I was invited by the Government to see what was going on. I went because on 17 January I had a chance to ask a question of a man I respect, Sir Andrew Dillon, who is the chairman of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. I said to him, “I can’t understand why you and your committee are dithering over whether acupuncture works for lower back pain—it has been on and off. Have any of your team been to China or India where the critical mass is, to see what is going on?” and he said, “No, we haven’t; we haven’t got the money.” In fairness to NICE, its budget has been cut by 30%.

I do not pretend to be an academic—I am a politician—but I did do research at Oxford under Professor Sammy Finer of All Souls and Gillian Peele at Lady Margaret Hall for a research degree in the ’80s, and they always said to me, “If you’re doing research, go to the biggest base of information you can find.” Yet NICE has been making decisions on tiny numbers of people—a few homeopaths in Liverpool, a couple of different groups of herbalists and acupuncturists. Why on earth are we not looking at the two biggest countries in the world that use these systems?

As I have said, I have been to India for a week as the guest of the Government. The Secretary of State knows all about this as I have talked to him about it; I was their guest and I shall declare it in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, but I paid for the flights. The AYUSH Ministry—Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy—covers a range of disciplines, but I want to dispose first of one component, and that is homeopathy. I want to dispose of this to give some idea of the scale of the operation. Here in the UK, the tiny group of homoeopaths has been under constant pressure in recent years from so-called sceptics saying that there is no evidence. When I was in Delhi, I met Dr Raj Manchanda who runs the Government services in Delhi. Delhi has 6,000 homeopathic clinics, with 15,000 registered homeopathic practitioners, of whom 80% are doctors who have had five years’ training. They practise in almost every street. I also went to the homeopathic institute and teaching hospital in Calcutta. On a 14-acre site, I found three different lines of patients waiting in areas the size of the New Palace Yard.  The hospital was treating some 2,000 patients a day, off season, and 3,400 in the hot season, with 100 doctors and postgrads on duty at any one time.

This is the evidence we could look at. How can we possibly accept that there is no evidence when in the whole of India homeopathy—which was exported from London to India during the British time and caught on—has 300,000 practitioners, 250,000 of whom are doctors, treating an average 20,000 patients a day? I will leave that now. I know that not everybody wants to hear me going on about homeopathy—[Interruption.] Well, doesn’t it make it look ridiculous? There are a quarter of a million homeopathic doctors there, yet somebody here who is not very well qualified is saying that there is no evidence. I really think we should look at this. A lot of Indian homeopaths come back to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine to do research degrees, and they regard it as the ultimate to come back here and do that work.

I was honoured to have a meeting with Shripad Naik, who is the Minister in charge at AYUSH. He is actually the equivalent of a Secretary of State. Here, the Secretary of State here has responsibility for 66 million people; Shripad has responsibility for 1,300 million, which is 1.3 billion. I think I have got that right; I never was a mathematician. I spoke to our Secretary of State about this, and he would be happy to receive an invitation from Minister Naik to visit India and look at these medical systems—I went round 12 hospitals—and also to establish a working group on traditional medicine such as the one India has with Germany. I would say to the Minister of State, before she gets distracted, that Minister Naik is in the process of opening 5,000 integrated health clinics with allopathic medicine, complementary medicine, the Ayurveda medical system of India and homeopathy. AYUSH, with its medical system including naturopathy, yoga and homeopathy, has 700,000 practitioners, 700 teaching institutions and 200 postgraduate institutions, with an annual intake of 46,000 for its degree courses and 6,000 for its postgrad course. It runs 3,000 Government hospitals that are integrated healthcare hospitals, and it has 28,000 dispensaries. It has 9,000 Government manufacturing units and there are six AYUSH practitioners per 10,000 population.

That is a massive operation, and I suggest that my hon. Friend the Minister really needs to look at this, because it offers us a chance to have a much better regulatory regime in this country. I do not think that our complementary and integrated healthcare regime is thorough enough, in the sense that it is scrappy and fragmented; I know that from working in this field. The AYUSH Ministry was set up by Prime Minister Modi in 2014 as an independent ministry—I remind colleagues that he has just been re-elected for another five-year term—and he has doubled the AYUSH budget twice. It has gone up four times in five years because AYUSH is so effective at treating people. It is extraordinary. It controls research, through central regulatory bodies and research councils. It controls 11 national educational institutes and it controls drug quality care regulation with two central pharmacopeia laboratories and a national medicinal plant board.

Looking around at the landscape outside the House now and at the general attitude that has got very intense—including people’s anger about plastics—I believe that it is only a matter of time before a tsunami of anger comes  round the corner because people here are not allowed these services across the health service. I really encourage my hon. Friend to look at this, because they provide solutions where antibiotics are failing, and they provide solutions to opiate addiction. The three main services that AYUSH offers are: Ayurveda; yoga and naturopathy; and homeopathy.

Madam Deputy Speaker, you are smiling at me and I really appreciate that. I do not think you are standing to be the next Speaker—[Interruption.] You might be; perhaps you are, so you could be smiling for two reasons. Certainly, one of your reasons is to try to get me to sit down, so I will finish on this.

In 2013, I was acting Chairman of the Health Committee for a short period of time in the interregnum between our other hon. Friends who were Chairs, and I put out the report—HC401—entitled “Managing the care of people with long–term conditions”. It contains evidence from the late great Peter Fisher, the Queen’s homeopath, and George Lewith, who ran a department at the University of Southampton. What I found, going round 12 institutions and research laboratories in India, was that homeopathy was used frequently for long-term conditions with multiple problems because it can find the root of the problem, and I just ask my hon. Friend to look carefully at that and perhaps visit the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, which is world famous.

I hope that I may get called to speak again one day, Madam Deputy Speaker, but with that, I will sit down."