The Importance of Health Coaches: A Doctor’s Viewpoint

Learn how health coaching can transform health and wellbeing

Health Coaches are an essential resource in helping clients stick to protocols,
to generate long-term health change.” –
Dr Mo Enayyat, LMS Wellness

Doctor’s surgeries are becoming increasingly inundated with patients who need extra support to make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes to improve their health. Most doctors do not have the time or training to be able to assist patients in this way, which is why they are enlisting the services of Health Coaches.

In this article, we discuss the importance of Health Coaches from a doctor’s viewpoint. Learn why doctors are embracing the services of Health Coaches to transform their approach to patient care and how health coaching can improve health and wellbeing in the long-term.

Health Coaches working with Doctors

Health Coaches empower patients to take control of their health so they can make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes to turn their health around. In the last few years, there has been a spike in demand for Health Coaches in GP surgeries. Health Coaches work alongside GPs to educate patients on diet and lifestyle, helping them to set and achieve realistic health goals by mentoring and supporting them through the transition.

Health Coaches are equipped with the tools and coaching strategies to assist with weight management, stress reduction and diet-related health conditions such as diabetes and constipation. A Health Coach can also help with recipe creation, menu planning, implementing successful exercise and sleep routines, and creating a more harmonious home and work environment.

Ultimately, a Health Coach helps bridge the gap between doctor and patient, providing an essential health service for both parties.

CNM’s Health Coach Course Director, Maria Trindade, says:

“Health Coaches have a tremendous amount of value to add, working alongside doctors to support patients with lifestyle changes. Health Coaches should be integrated into every GP practice to allow doctors to refer patients with lifestyle-related diseases to them. This is already happening with initiatives such as the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. Health Coaches are in a unique position to empower patients to make positive improvements to their health, as well as help them overcome any obstacles on their journey to better health. It’s an interesting time and I’m hopeful this integration will happen across the board very soon.”  

The Doctor’s Viewpoint

Dr Jasmeen Jhajj

MBBS, BSc (neuroscience) FSRH, DRCOG, MRCGP, NHS GP

Dr Jhajj, an NHS GP, believes that health coaching in an invaluable service which all GPs and patients could positively benefit from. She says there is a common frustration amongst patients who feel doctors should be doing more to improve their overall wellbeing.

Most doctors are already thinly-stretched with their caseloads ever multiplying, so the reality of doctors being able to add dietary and lifestyle advice to their skill repertoire is very limited.

Dr Jhajj thinks patients have the capability to make the necessary changes to their diet and lifestyle, but what they’re lacking is the guidance and support to get started. Health Coaches have the capacity and skills to empower and support patients in ways that doctors are unable to; limited NHS resources means limited support can be offered.

“There is definitely a need for Health Coaches to work alongside doctors. By working together, all-round holistic care can be provided. The patients will understand their health needs from several viewpoints and be able to create a path that suits their individual condition, lifestyle and personal needs. Not only will this help reduce the overall strain on the NHS, it will potentially reduce chronic health conditions and mental health concerns.”

Dr Clare Wyld

BSc, MBChB, MRCGP, DFSRH, CNM Dip NT, NHS GP

GP and Nutritional Therapist, Dr Wyld, became frustrated with allopathic medicine as she felt all she was doing was giving out pills to her patients, and not improving their overall health. As an NHS GP, she doesn’t get to spend a huge amount of time with each patient and therefore, her time to discuss dietary and lifestyle factors is restricted.

Dr Wyld is also a trained Nutritional Therapist so she tries to get her patients to make dietary and lifestyle changes first, before prescribing medications. In some case where there is a time pressure, she professes that prescribing medication is often the easiest thing to do.

“If doctors were able to spend more time with a patient or refer them to someone like a Health Coach, we might not even need the medicine. It would be amazing to have a Health Coach in every doctor’s office! For patients to have on-going support to implement changes and for doctors to be able to offer this additional support would be brilliant. An integrative approach to patient care is what we are all striving for; working together for the benefit of the patient.”

Dr Sneha Jetty

NHS GP, MBBS, BSc, MRCGP, DRCOG

NHS GP Dr Jetty, like many of her peers, thinks modern medicine is built upon a disease-focussed model, allowing people to live with their diseases by taking medication, without the need to address the underlying causes of their illness.

Realising the impact that diet and lifestyle has on health, Dr Jetty decided to train as a Health Coach so she has the skills and tools to help patients implement the necessary changes to improve their health.

“The ideal healthcare system would be a truly holistic one – incorporating the expertise of allopathic doctors and Health Coaches, together with naturopathic and complementary medicine practitioners, to provide therapies beyond medications alone. This integrative approach to patient care, would not only take the burden off traditional healthcare systems and individual practitioners, but would also ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. There is a growing and collective belief that integrating all of these modalities of is the future of holistic medicine.”

The future of healthcare

The health coaching industry continues to flourish. With more and more GPs adding health coaching to their support services, the demand for Health Coaches is likely to rise further. Doctors see the value in working with Health Coaches and many believe that a Health Coach can provide the missing link between doctors and patients. Being able to offer patients a well-rounded treatment plan, not only gives patients the dietary and lifestyle support they need, it takes the load of doctors and ultimately, may help salvage limited NHS resources and budget. Working collectively, with an integrated approach, is the future of healthcare.

Tags: , , , ,

Categorised in: