EPA Newsletter September 2016 - UK

Welcome to the International EPA Newsletter, our Global platform for members.  


This edition of the EPA Newsletter showcases the 2016 EPA EU/UK Conference in Somerset, UK


On 11 September 2016, the UK/EU EPA Conference took place at the Sound Training Centre in Tytherington, Frome. The theme for the day was “Living an Ethical Life – Living One Quality Everywhere” facilitated by EPA UK/EU Chair, Sara Williams. Highlights included:


  • Complementary Medicine: the Political Climate in the European Union

  • Balens Conference 2016 – how are complementary medicine associations working together and how together can we collect big data about complementary medicine? 

  • Getting involved with the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK– NICE consultations and Contributing to National Health System Guidelines

  • Member presentation: Kehinde James: Group work and NICE Submissions. 

  • Member presentation: Samantha Chater-England: Working on Living One Quality Everywhere, a Seamless Life

Sara Williams

Complementary Medicine: the Political Climate in the European Union


Currently, many complementary medicine (CM) practitioners are able to practice without having to abide by many regulations in the EU. However, there is a trend within many governing bodies and the scientific communities toward legal restrictions that would restrict the practice of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).  The two threats towards CAM practice are largely based on the limited financial resources of the health services and on the other hand the dominance of evidence-based science.


Now is a great opportunity for the EPA to be on the front foot regarding CM and the Political Climate in the UK/EU and also to be involved in a way that our voice can be heard, as the EPA has a wide ranging membership across all sections of society and across many professions. 


The EPA in the EU is active in this area and is committed to: 

•   Safeguarding accessibility to CM for all citizens 

•   Building relationships with local, national and international CM organisations

•   Supporting the legal right for EPA practitioners to practice 

•   Sharing reliable information on the use and benefit of CM

•   Reflecting the qualities and integrity of the EPA 

•   Continuous research and case study projects.


Members of the EPA are concerned about the wider community and together we can bring our awareness to these issues.

Balens Conference and Forum May 2016 


On the 22-23 May 2016 Balens Ltd, insurer for the EPA in the UK as well as many other CAM professional bodies, held a two-day event in Birmingham, UK. The first day was a forum meeting with leads of the CAM practitioner associations it insures, and the second day was a Conference for practitioner members of CAM practitioner Associations entitled, “Complementary and Sustainable Healthcare in the UK and Europe: who can secure its future?”  Two EPA members attended the meeting on the first day and several EPA members attended the conference.


During these Balens events it became apparent that CAM Practitioners Associations largely work in separation with no cohesiveness or joint long term planning concerning strengthening the legitimate place of CAM as an available consumer healthcare choice. As a result, there is little to no data on the uptake/usage of CAM with very little data reflecting the efficacy of modalities in the UK/EU.  Balens aims to change this by beginning to bring together Complementary and Alternative Medicine Professional Associations to contribute data on overall uptake/usage numbers, prior to work being done to assess individual outcomes for each CAM modality. The EPA UK/EU has committed to working with Balens on this project.

Gill Randall

Andrew Mooney

Getting involved with the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK– NICE consultations and Contributing to National Health System Guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is a standard-setting body for healthcare in the UK, seeking “to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services.” This is developed through “producing evidence-based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners.”


NICE regularly review their guidelines that are issued to healthcare organisations and healthcare practitioners on a wide range of subjects, and hold consultations open to those who have experience in the field in question. In 2016 the EPA registered as a stakeholder with NICE so as to respond to consultations. To date the EPA has made 7 submissions and have a further 4 currently underway for submission in December, on varying topics ranging from: end of life care for adults and children, social care and multiple health needs for older people, mental health and wellbeing for adults, eating disorders and lower back pain, and engaging local communities for example.


The work involved in responding to NICE offers development and learning opportunities for EPA members as they contribute through writing the submissions to the national discussion on health and wellbeing standards. This development opportunity is greatly reflected in the following contribution from Kehinde James.

Member presentation:

Kehinde James: Group work and NICE Submissions

Kehinde James has been working in elderly and palliative care for four years. She

shared her experience of expanding her confidence and expression concerning

public health legislation and Older Peoples Palliative Care, and being in an EPA

working group contributing to a public consultation for National Institute for Health

and Care Excellence (NICE)  


Kehinde shares,


“My response initially was based on my own lived experience. I had supported at

least three elder aged clients who had seen significant improvements to their

health partly attributed to their relationship with and use of complementary medicine

practitioners over many years. I recognised gaps in my knowledge, and was

inspired to find out more researched about UK cancer statistics, supportive and

palliative care, the use of complementary medicine in a hospital and hospice

environment, and person-centred care. Anecdotal evidence was not enough.  


"But I also learned not to take research evidence on face value and began to understand the value of validating the integrity of research authors before citing them as examples."


Working as a part of a team brought together for this submission to NICE, Kehinde did research and extensive reading to support the response from the EPA, however :


“Participation in NICE consultation process is more than a paper exercise. We actively enter the lives, experiences and challenges of patients, families, health and social care systems the world over. Through Literature searches we are taken to living rooms, residential care homes, hospitals, hospices and learn the different ways in which health care services are responding to healthcare problems.” 


Kehinde found that being part of the EPA NICE submission group developed her understanding of her area of work but also opened up a deeper understanding of responsibility in community and personal life.   


This was a group collaboration on a global scale made up of EPA members from both the UK and Australia.

Reference – NICE website - https://www.nice.org.uk/about/what-we-do 


If you are interested in getting involved or would like to know more, please email Sara Williams directly at sara@epa-international.com

Public Events


This year saw several groups of EPA members coming together to hold events for the general public and their local communities.


Beverley Bulmer and Michael Chater presented on Community in Connection who held three events over the year, with the support and guidance of the EPA, and is now an official unaffiliated organisation with a formal constitution based upon the EPA Code of Ethics.


Judy Young and Kathie Johnson, worked with small groups of EPA members to run events, which made use of the support offered by the EPA. This support ran from simple advice, to more in-depth administrative help.


If you are interested in holding an event in your community, and could use some advice on where to start or anything else, please contact Beverley Bulmer: office.uk@epa-international.com

The 2016 EPA conference highlighted and revealed a deeper layer of the awareness that the EPA and its members bring when they get involved in their local communities and hold public events. It also illustrated the rich contribution and impact that EPA members can have when they participate on a national stage by being involved in government submissions, as well as being a voice within European/UK CM associations.


Are you involved in EPA supported activities in your community, or have you gotten involved with your local government? We would love to hear your story.


Please email your submissions to the EPA editorial team: epanewsletters@gmail.com

Sara Williams and Jane Keep


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