New UK Initiative in Indian Traditional Medicine

HRH The Prince of Wales and Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, will today inaugurate a new centre for traditional Indian medicine and yoga. This is the first of its kind in the UK. 

Today's inauguration follows a Memorandum of Understanding between the College of Medicine (UK) and the All Indian Institute of Ayurveda.

This new initiative will provide opportunities to access traditional Indian medicine and yoga.  This MOU will provide opportunity for both sides to collaborate on research, develop evidence-based guidelines for integrating Ayurvedic principles and practices with modern medicine. The MOU also provides opportunity to take up joint research programs, funding for which could be jointly shared by both sides.

The main base of the new centre will be the St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing in North Kensington.  St Charles is a community NHS facility with a reputation for innovation.  It offers yoga on GP referral already and serves an ethnically diverse population and has a higher than average number of people with long-term medical conditions.

Initially, the centre will offer yoga, ayurvedic dietary advice and cookery demonstrations and massage.  As well as referring patients directly, GPs will be able to provide access via social prescription. This enables GPs to refer patients to a link worker, who explores their health, social and practical needs and then directs them to appropriate services that will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle or improve their mental wellbeing.

Dr Fiona Butler, West London CCG Chair said, “To create a sustainable health system, we also need to have an equal or greater focus on health creation in order to make our patients physically and emotionally resilient and  maintain their physical and mental health.  Our Clinical Commissioning Group through St Charles is driving this innovative work on wellness with an emphasis on those who have the greatest need ensured by delivery through our social prescription programme - all provided by the NHS and free at the point of delivery.  We have been developing a wider integrated approach to healthcare and this new development will complement this work”. 

The centre will also explore the provision of yoga and traditional medicine in other settings such as a GP surgery and at the University of Westminster. 

The project will have a collaborative research and development programme led by Prof David Peters and Westminster University and a visiting professor from India.  The focus of research will be on what works best in the UK context, with an emphasis on patient safety, experience and cost effectiveness.

Prof David Peters of University of Westminster said ‘Yoga is now part of everyday life for millions of people in the UK and scientific interest in meditation is at an all-time high.  Colleagues in our Faculty of Science and Technology are already researching herbal medicines and evaluating social prescribing.  We want to explore these approaches in different NHS settings and gather evidence for their wider use”.

Dr Michael Dixon, Chair of the College of Medicine, who has been leading the development of this project said: “The NHS faces an increasing burden of long term disease including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stress, depression and cancer. We now need to look at new ways of treatment and prevention that go beyond conventional pills and procedures. Yoga for instance has been shown to provide immense physical and mental health benefits. This project will link medicine in India and the UK to provide new treatments for our patients in the UK supported by robust evidence from our academic partners".

 

The Prince is a keen advocate of integrated healthcare. This means taking a wider, preventative approach to healthcare by addressing the underlying social, lifestyle and environmental causes of disease. In this system patients, protected by a sound regulatory environment and the support of the National Health Service, have access not just to conventional medical treatment but to proven complementary care and therapy.

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The initiative has been supported by the GMSP Foundation in the UK. The GMSP foundation was set up by Ramesh and Pratibha Sachdev in 2006 to support communities in India and the UK. www.gmspfoundation.org

Notes to editors 

  1. The College of Medicine supports T medicine, research and teaching that go beyond conventional pills and procedures. For more information visit https://collegeofmedicine.org.uk/ 

  1. NHS West London CCG is a GP-led organisation, responsible for planning, buying (commissioning) and designing many of the health services needed by people registered with GPs in Kensington and Chelsea, Queen’s Park and Paddington.  For more information visit /

 

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