An National Health Service (NHS) hospital has advertised for a reiki spiritual therapist to help breast cancer patients deal with “emotional, physical and spiritual issues”. The successful applicant, who will receive a full time salary plus generous benefits, is only expected to treat eight patients a week with the new age healing technique that involves “channelling energy”.
The Princess Alexandra NHS Trust in Harlow, Essex, prides itself on its compassionate, caring nature. “You will see our logo above,” the advert reads. “The flower indicates a bright and healthy future with plenty of growth. The five petals symbolise our vision and our four values.
“Our vision is to become one of the best local hospitals in the country and our four values which are Respectful, Caring, Responsible, and Committed support this.”
In line with that vision, the Trust is now looking for a reiki therapist to provide spiritual assistance to “a maximum” of eight breast cancer patients a week, working alongside a reflexologist. Reiki is a form of massage designed to heal by channelling energy into the patient by means of touch.
The Trust has stipulated that candidates must be Reiki Master Usui System qualified, but in return, they can expect an annual salary of up to £22,236, plus generous benefits including 27 days holiday plus bank holidays, and access to the NHS pension scheme, described on the NHS website as “one of the most generous and comprehensive in the UK.”
The advert coincides with a report released today by the NHS watchdog the Care Quality Commission, which has found that three in four hospitals are failing to meet safety standards, and two thirds are offering substandard care to patients.
The CQC warned that the situation in Britain’s hospitals is likely to deteriorate further as the overall NHS budget continues to be reduced in real terms as demand shoots up, noting: “Although the NHS budget has largely been protected from public sector cuts, the NHS is experiencing unprecedented financial challenges.
“NHS providers ended 2014/15 with a net deficit of more than £800 million. Almost half of all providers were in deficit, including almost two-thirds of acute hospital trusts. This is despite the Treasury providing extra in-year funding and a transfer from capital to revenue budgets.
“The deficit included £349 million among foundation trusts – the first time the foundation trust sector has recorded an overspend.”
Yet despite the well documented, acute pressure on health budgets, the Princess Alexandra Trust is not the only one to pay out for alternative medicines such as reiki. The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, Shropshire also employs a reiki specialist, an aromatherapist and a touch therapist.
Despite promises of fiscal responsibility, the alternative therapies are unlikely to be taken off the menu by the current Conservative government. Last year it emerged that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had asked the government’s chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, to review three studies on the medical benefits of homeopathy.
The health secretary is known to be a supporter of the highly controversial therapy, which involves giving patients doses of highly diluted substances in a bid to encourage the body to heal itself.
Other studies have shown homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo, but in an email to a third party, Hunt’s office said it was “important we do not discount different methods of treatment if they prove to be effective”.
The Princess Alexandra NHS Trust did not respond to requests for comment from Breitbart London.