May I say how sorry I am to hear that you are suffering from a throat affliction, Madam Deputy Speaker, and how sorry I was to hear of the throat problems of the Leader of the
Opposition during Question Time today. I was reflecting on whether, if he visited his doctor, he would be taking antibiotics. One of the great crises in health care at the moment, of course, is the increase in the use of antibiotics—an issue that the Science and Technology Committee, of which I am a member, has looked at. I hope that we will address this issue with great sincerity and seriousness. The 25% increase in recent years is quite terrifying.
I do not accept any of the arguments I heard from the shadow Health Secretary. I would like to share some experiences of the Hinkley and Bosworth health and wellbeing board, which has had a very positive impact in my area. The very fact that we have together in one room on a regular basis the clinical commissioning groups, NHS England, the borough council, healthwatch and the director of public health for Leicestershire has made a tremendous difference. We heard recently that NHS England was working with GPs to increase capacity in Barwell and Earl Shilton. The clinical commissioning group was discussing new links with paramedics to provide in-home care seven days a week and also about increased sports activity in the borough. Healthwatch is conducting surveys on patients’ concerns about A and E access, dental services and repeat prescriptions. It is perhaps not surprising that the West Leicestershire NHS team has been shortlisted in the primary care innovation category for a national award from the Health Service Journal, and everyone in our area can be proud of that.
I have always felt that the health reforms are only two legs of a stool. Health and social care were brought together in the massive Health and Social Care Act 2012, but allopathic medical services were not integrated with complementary and alternative medicine. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health should look at this with great care, because estimates I have received show that making greater use of acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic and osteopathy reduce the cost of medical care by about 5%.
The Impact Integrated Medicine Partnership in Nottingham is a social enterprise that provides acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy in primary care settings. It combines the best of conventional and complementary medicine and has proved to be flexible, with lasting, sustainable improvements. Comprehensive evaluations of the service in 2006 and 2010 demonstrated the effectiveness of those interventions, and patients—I ask the Minister please to listen to this—who completed treatments subsequently visited their GP less often, reported taking less medication and had less need for referral to secondary care, thus saving NHS resources. The partnership is a shining example of what can be done if the complementary field is brought into the mainstream, reducing costs and burdens on doctors and providing a more efficient and more patient friendly health service.
Altogether Better, Wakefield has supported individuals in the community to become volunteer community health champions. It has trained 17,000 community health champions and a recent social return on investment study by York Health Economics Consortium showed a positive return of about £1 for every £1 invested. That is £1 more for the health service to spend.
13 care pathways. They assist with the problems that doctors face with almost intractable conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic low back pain, chronic headache, knee pain, hay fever, non-organic insomnia, perennial allergic rhinitis, irritable bowel syndrome and weight loss.
Finally, I am concerned about antibiotics. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State should address this with the greatest possible speed and care.