Hypnosis should be used widely in the NHS 'to save millions of pounds'

Daily Mail - 7 June 2012

Hypnosis treatments could be used on a range of medical conditions to save the NHS millions of pounds, say medical experts. The Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) believe the therapies help relieve pain and stress.

Jacky Owens, the president of the RSM's Hypnosis Section, said: 'Conditions such as depression, pain and irritable bowel syndrome affect millions of people in the UK and a great cost to the NHS. 'But hypnosis can often work where other treatments have been unsuccessful.' Ms Owens, a qualified nurse who uses hypnosis in her work with cancer patients added: 'If doctors were able to refer patients to properly trained hypnotherapists, it would save a cash-strapped NHS a great deal of money.' She said making hypnosis a standard part of the 'NHS toolbox' would lead to the public becoming better informed about the procedure and mean that vulnerable patients would be less likely to turn to 'hypno-cowboys'.

Hypnosis is now recognised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) as a possible intervention for IBS where other treatments are not having an effect. Ms Owens added: 'That's a small step but we're confident that with more research, hypnosis will be recognised as an extremely useful tool to be used alongside mainstream medicine.

'What we need are doctors, dentists, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, radiotherapists - the whole gamut of people who treat patients - trained in using hypnosis as another tool in their treatment programme.' She called on the Government to review the issue.

A Department of Health spokesman said: 'We believe in patients being able to make informed choices about their treatment and in clinicians having the freedom to prescribe the treatment they feel most appropriate for that patient after discussing the risks and benefits. 'They should always consider the availability of a suitably qualified practitioner as part of this process. 'Our plans to modernise the NHS will give clinicians more freedom to commission the services that best meet their patients' needs.'

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