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Let complementary health workers back to work: government policy not risk or science based

This campaign is now closed. Look out for the next campaign.

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:



Thank you to every one of the 20,000 people who signed the petition in 2 weeks.

Below is what the petition asked for.

Complementary, traditional and natural healthcare workers contribute to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of millions of people in the UK. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been unable to carry out consultations in person, although some have supported clients remotely where possible.

Following the government’s statement of 23rd June, these healthcare workers still cannot return to work. There is no logic or science behind the government’s policy. It is unfair and inconsistent, and means that this valuable sector of the healthcare workforce remains undervalued and underused.

The government has let physiotherapists and podiatrists return to work. Both have a similar mode of practice and comparable risk to the complementary healthcare industry. Hairdressers and barbers, who provide close contact services within the high-risk zone, have also been told that they too can return to work.

The government must take advice from the Integrated Healthcare Collaborative and its member organisations, change its policy to one based on risk and science, and let complementary, traditional and natural healthcare workers back to work now.

IHC asks Health Ministers to support complementary healthcare workers in returning to work quickly and safely

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 as it moves forward from Covid-19, and urges the Government to help them do so quickly and safely.

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Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) calls for further assistance for self-employed complementary healthcare workers during Covid-19 crisis

The newly formed 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 5th April 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 members from IHC organisations 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. IHC suggests that, where these criteria have been met, the Government offers some support at this difficult time.

IHC proposes 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 their 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, they 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.

IHC has therefore written to the Chancellor 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.

For more information on the Integrated Healthcare Collaborative and its work go to:


Previous campaigns

This campaign called on the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to release its first Report on Homeopathy.


You added your voice to thousands of other voices around the world.


Campaign Background

In March 2015, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) published an Information Paper on homeopathy, commonly referred to as ‘The Australian Report’.

This document concludes that “…there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective”.

This report triggered headlines around the world falsely suggesting NHMRC had found that homeopathy doesn’t work for any condition.

However, it wasn’t until after the report had been released, and headlines generated, that the alarming flaws in NHMRC’s approach to the Homeopathy review were brought to light. The most serious scientific breach… NHMRC did the review twice, only publishing their second attempt.

An Ombudsman challenge is currently in progress, requiring NHMRC to answer charges of scientific misconduct, procedural breaches, bias and conflict of interest. It is great to see democracy in action, holding NHMRC to account, but in the meantime the Australian Report continues to do unfair damage to the sector.

This is why the public needs to see the first review. To fully understand the Australian Report that is having such a profound impact around the world, we need to see what answers they got the first time they did it.


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