Archive for December, 2012
In November 2012, the work of nutritional therapists at the Optimum Health Clinic (www.FreedomFromME.co.uk), a private clinic in London specialising in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME was recognised in the British Medical Journal Open in an observational study looking at both nutritional and psychological interventions for the illness. The patients in the nutrition-only treatment group were found to have a statistically significant improvement in self-reported CFS/ME symptoms. The full study can be viewed here: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/6/e001079.full
We believe this kind of work from The Optimum Health Clinic represents a call to action for our profession for more research, and is proof that human trials can be done. We support and greatly encourage more such research trials as a way to continue to legitimise the profession and embrace evidence based medicine in clinical practice.
We congratulate CEO Alex Howard and Director of Research Dr Megan Arroll and the entire team at the Optimum Health Clinic for all their commitment and hard work, and look forward to reporting on the next stages of their research.
For further information and discussion about the findings in the research paper see http://freedomfromme.co.uk/blog/2012/11/19/ohc-research-published-in-british-medical-journal-open/
Nuffield Health has just recruited 20 Nutritional Therapists to work in a clinical setting alongside other healthcare providers supporting the delivery of Nuffield Health’s unique wellbeing membership packages, and helping manage a range of health conditions. Nutritional Therapists will also be offering expert-led nutritional touch points, in line with Nuffield’s excellent service standards and clinical guidelines. The roles have an important education component, with both Nuffield’s members and employees in mind. Roles range from 1 to 3 days a week at different sites, on a self-employed basis.
Nuffield Health is a private non-for profit integrative healthcare provider, serving up to two thirds of the UK population at over 200 locations – including hospitals, health and fitness clubs, health assessment centres and client workplaces. Their mission is to provide safe, affordable and accessible healthcare.
BANT believes this is a step forward in the recognition and integration of our profession, and one that will set the precedent with other private healthcare providers. We note that BANT membership and CNHC registration were mandatory requirements for applicants. We would like to think that the commitment to raise and support standards of excellence in the nutritional therapy profession will have had some influence in Nuffield’s decision to demand these professional credentials, and would encourage all nutritional therapists to become members of BANT and register with the CNHC so that more health providers will begin to recognise the profession is committed to voluntary self-regulation and maintaining standards of excellence in all aspects of professional practice.
BANT would like to congratulate all 20 BANT members for their achievement and wish them all the very best in their new jobs.
Last month, BANT issued an update on key aspects of the new five-year strategic plan for the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT). This month we take a look at the work going on in the area of “clinical governance” and “professional practice” both of which support and promote the standards of the profession.
Part of this work has involved BANT researching aspects of clinical governance in many other professional bodies to ensure that our procedures match, or are “ahead of the pack”, with reference to our peer groups. These included the British Dietetic Association, the Association for Nutrition, The General Osteopathic Council, the Health Professions Council, the Royal College of Midwives and numerous other associations for complementary and alternative medicine.
Clinical Governance – Overseen by BANT Director, Jane Nodder
The Department of Health defines clinical governance as: ‘a framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish’. (A First Class Service, Department of Health, July 1998).
From BANT’s perspective, clinical governance includes at least six workstreams that have, in some cases more than one project attached to them. The diagram below summarises the key areas of focus:
Some of the projects within these work streams include:
Clinical Supervision Project (Project Leader – Jane Nodder, BANT Director): This project will define and implement a system of clinical supervision for the nutritional therapy profession in the UK as part of BANT’s ongoing commitment to improve standards of practice and patient care across the profession, and to meet standards of best practice that exist in other healthcare professions with differing regulatory bodies. So far, the project team has defined a detailed proposal for a possible approach to clinical supervision. The next step is recruit a Project Manager to take the project into an implementation phase starting with a ‘pilot’.
Jane Nodder says: ‘as a professional body it is vital that BANT provides the tools, processes and procedures practitioners need to deliver the highest quality of care to their patients. In addition, we absolutely need to focus on continually improving standards of clinical governance for the longer-term future of our profession’.
CPD Audit of Logged CPD (Project Leader – Elisabeth Foot, Chair of BANT CPD Committee): This project is developing processes to ensure that all BANT members meet the mandatory requirement to complete an annual quota of CPD from January 2013. The project will also define action(s) that can be taken with any members who do not meet the requirement.
Practitioner Website Audit (Project Leader – Louise Carder, BANT Director and Head of BANT Communications): This project will develop and implement an approach for auditing the websites of BANT members to ensure they are compliant with the relevant EU Rules and Regulations, CAP code/ ASA rules, the BANT Code of Professional Practice and BANT guidelines. The project will also define action(s) that will be taken with any members whose websites are ‘non-compliant’.
Another aspect of this project is to consider ways to improve members’ understanding of the complexities of the CAP code/ASA rules and foster a greater appreciation of the importance of compliance in general to reduce the risk of the nutritional therapy profession becoming a target for criticism.
Practice Standards The Practice Standards workstream covers three projects: Fitness to Practice, Return to Practice and Scope of Practice. One of these is discussed below:
Fitness to Practice (Project Leader Deborah Colson, BANT Director): This project is considering measures to ensure that all current, and future, BANT members are fit to practice. Fitness to Practice means that BANT members:
- are of good character
- do not have a health condition that would affect their ability to practise
- adhere to standards of professional conduct, performance and ethics
- meet standards of proficiency
- maintain (and record) required levels of appropriate CPD.
Professional Practice – Overseen by Project Leader Catherine Honeywell, Chair of the PPC Committee)
Working closely with the projects in the Clinical Governance workstream, the Professional Practice Committee (PPC) sets standards for nutritional therapists in the BANT Code of Professional Practice and monitors their implementation to help members practise safely, effectively and legally. The PPC also maintains a clear focus on all aspects of professional practice including essential links with BANT’s other core objectives relating to training, education and research. Its overall strategy covers:
- advising members, where there is uncertainty, on how to apply the Code.
- investigating complaints against BANT members by another BANT member or from members of the public against members who are registered with CNHC where the complaint falls outside the scope of CNHC.
- investigating all complaints from members of the public against BANT members who are not registered with CNHC.
- liaising with BANT Council to make sure that all projects tie in with the Code.
- raising awareness amongst BANT members of the professional standards required for all NT consultations.
- ensuring that the Code remains relevant and reflects advances in professional practice
Catherine Honeywell, says ‘BANT needs to improve transparency within the nutritional therapy profession and provide the public with a better understanding of the high standards of professional conduct and proficiency they can expect when they consult a BANT member practitioner’.
As you can see, BANT is continuing to champion the nutritional therapy profession as a primary healthcare option for the future. If you are a nutritional therapist and are committed to the future success of your profession, we urge you to show your support and join BANT if you have not already done so.