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The people's druggist

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Thursday, 1 August 2019

The people's druggist

The NHS is to recruit more than 1000 social apothecaries to work in primary care networks.

Social apothecaries will help direct those patients who do not need a conventional medical intervention to more traditional, organic remedies. These include plant extracts, herbs, roots, fungi and animal derivatives with known healing or magical properties.

NHS England says the initiative to put a people’s druggist in every network will dramatically cut GP workload and make general practice a great place to work again. It is also part of the government’s plan to deal with a potential shortage of medicines after Brexit.

NHS England is encouraging people with an interest in alternative medicines to retrain as social apothecaries. “Enthusiasm, willingness to learn and good people skills are more important than formal medical training,” said an NHS England spokesperson. “We’re looking for shamans, sorcerers, necromancers, homeopaths and anyone else with an interest in potions and spells.”

The Royal College of GPs welcomed the move. “An increasing amount of family doctors’ time is taken up with non-medical complaints where an alternative intervention might be more effective. Few feel equipped to deal with a child possessed by demons or a community in the midst of a plague of frogs. With access to advice on the right tree bark or most appropriate form of sacrifice, GPs could free up more time for their vital work doling out sick notes and antidepressants.”

The spokesperson for the RCGP sounded a note of caution, however. “Some traditional remedies, such as eye of newt and toe of frog, could be a recipe for trouble in the wrong hands.”

She added that GPs would want to see details of funding arrangements for the new roles before making firm recruitment plans.

NICE guidelines on safe prescribing of cockerel’s blood and approved techniques for lifting curses have already been published. Clinical trials to establish the efficacy of snake oil in hair re-growth and as a cure for sight loss are also underway.

NHS England and Improvement chief executive Simon Stevens said: “We need to harness the untapped energy of the spirit world and the power of superstition. Long before modern medicine and state-provided healthcare people were finding their own successful cures for warts, pox and brain fever.

“It’s no coincidence that the civilisations that practised these forms of medicine rarely complained of long-term conditions, lengthy hospital stays or an ageing population.”

Editor: Julian Patterson


Anonymous says:
Aug 02, 2019 09:12 AM

The problem is that there are some around the ivory towers that might just decide this makes sense, the next thing you know is when the 'initiative' appears on a paper with the NHS logo.

Judy Aldred
Judy Aldred says:
Aug 02, 2019 10:06 AM

This is my favourite EVER blog and I have loved a lot of them. Sadly close to the bone in terms of the direction our society seems to be taking, never mind the NHS!

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Aug 02, 2019 10:13 AM

Thanks, Judy. Luckily since 2016 we've been on course for new era of self-reliance that could make the recent period of austerity look like a golden age.

Hannah Kosuge
Hannah Kosuge says:
Aug 20, 2019 10:15 AM

Loved this! Genius!