TedX Brighton: Complementary working


The moment you say NHS you can see a room of people shuffle in their seats. There is no doubt this is a great service and a beacon for 1st World countries and aspiration for 3rd World countries. However, it also comes under a lot of criticism. In part because it is a political vehicle but also because it doesn’t always work. Why doesn’t it work? Primarily because it’s driven by KPI’s and patients as numbers not patients as people.

We’ve all heard of the numerous studies around placebo effect and mental state impacting physical state. But for NHS services, often, the number of front-line staff to patients means they just can’t provide that ‘human’ element and go beyond the prescription.

Dr. Laura Marshall-Andrews, GP at BHWC, and Chris Dance, Acupuncturist and Complementary Health Partner have found a way to address this challenge. How? Simply through complementary working. By partnering, their patients get the attention they need, not just in a prescription, but in terms of life well-being and mental health. Patients living with anxiety, stress, poverty, shame, loneliness may be able to surpress or stop an illness with a pill but not build in a long-term approach to health.

Dr. Marshall-Andrews works with Chris Dance to refer patients for mental health, acupuncture and well-being. Reciprocally Chris refers patients to Laura for medical help. They can work together for one patient or refer a patient to the right person for help. This, is not a novel way of working, but in the discipline of medicine this is unique  in that the innovation has been executed and is working.

We have a tendency to shun something that is unknown or perceived as competitive. However, Laura and Chris embraced this to provide a unique service and win the General Practice Awards for Innovators of the Year.

If we take this thinking into different environments imagine energy companies partnering with Google or Apple’s smart home technology. What would happen if car companies partnered with private train companies? What about fashion houses partnering with second hand clothes stores?

This truly opens up not just value added services and disrupting traditional models, but could also carve out brand new market-places!

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