The BBC's Your NHS day on Wednesday sparked a great debate about poor funding and the enormous demands placed on hospital services, GPs, nurses and all primary-care teams.

We need more doctors and nurses, more hospital beds and adequate care for the elderly. While investment and funding for hospitals, GPs and staff would improve our hospital care and boost morale, there still remains the question of funding expensive new technology and medical treatments, the cost of drugs and so on.

My proposal is to invest heavily in preventative medicine in the community by providing an extensive network of self-help groups where doctors, nurses, health visitors, complementary medicine practitioners and grandmothers can be recruited to run regular workshops or drop-in classes for the public.

We need a shift in the paradigm from modern drug therapy to a more holistic approach. A large number of consultations in GP surgeries deal with problems related to stress, anxiety, depression-related conditions and common back pains. These can be more effectively dealt with by providing more support groups run by various trained professionals, including psychotherapists and complementary practitioners.

When I see patients with serious illnesses such as cancer, MS or heart disease, what I find helps patients and their families most is positive reassurance and confidence, optimism about their own healing powers and information about various natural things they can do to help themselves to get better, instead of painting a constant negative and dismal picture. It is important to help the patient and their family come to terms with the illness and enjoy life wherever they can. While there is life, there must be hope.

For example, I would like to see training offered to the community in how to perform simple, time-tested, self-help and self-revival techniques such as meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, deep yogic breathing, Indian head massage and self-help massage as one way of encouraging people into a more healthy lifestyle.

Providing authentic information on herbs and affordable complementary medicine would give patients a wider choice of options and help toward more effective outcomes in preventing or treating illness. This would empower people to take responsibility for their own health and healing, thus easing the pressure on the NHS.

I have been using this holistic model in my practice and in the community for many years with great results and similar work is being carried out by many dedicated healthcare workers.

I strongly believe that a health strategy which consolidates a holistic community programme of prevention of illness and maintenance of positive health would bring about a positive change to our invaluable and neglected National Health Service.