NHS PUBLIC CONSULTATION
YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED!
Everyone who believes in protecting patient choice and the availability of homeopathic and other complementary medicines on the NHS needs to put their views forward by responding to the NHS England Consultation which closes on 21st October. There is no time to lose! (Details at the end of this letter).
It is not the first time in its long history that the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM – formerly the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital), finds itself in jeopardy. So far, it has managed to withstand opposition even though for the past ten years a well orchestrated, well funded campaign has been waged against it by targeting health policy makers and the media.
What or who is behind these NHS ‘stealth’ consultations which recommend denying vulnerable patients health services which work for them?
Look no further than a small lobbying group which appears to have a single, highly uncharitable agenda; they want all homeopathy provision decommissioned from the NHS. They could not care about your rights or what treatment option works best for you. Furthermore, they think that it is acceptable to totally ignore the clinical experience of skilled healthcare professionals and the benefits that patients across the country have received. Patient choice? The right of clinicians to prescribe in the best interests of their patients? Forget it! They say NO! They have even gone as far as threatening the Charity Commission with a Judicial Review if they do not remove charities that support homeopathy from the charity register.
This group has harangued local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to hold so-called Public Consultations and these have been taking place up and down the country – for the most part without notifying those most affected and, certainly in the case of the latest, during the height of the summer holiday season! The two latest were Bristol CCG and Enfield CCG, who informed the hospitals that they were going to stop commissioning services before the consultation had even finished!
Their campaign is not just about whether homeopathy should be available on the NHS or not, it is about the accountability of CCGs, it is about the rights of patients to have their voices heard and their healthcare choices and services preserved. IT IS ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS, YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE.
Our NHS is funded by us. We have an absolute right to be offered the treatment options which we know work best for us. It is completely unacceptable that a small lobbying group can ride roughshod over patient choice.
And it isn’t just homeopathy under attack. The consultation also includes herbal medicine and the prescription of Iscador, a lifeline to so many patients suffering from cancer. Many cancer patients, who depend on Iscador will no longer be able to receive this invaluable treatment. Others who rely on these complementary medicines to help them with the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy will find that they will no longer be prescribed the medicines which work best for them.
Urgent action is now required to protect your choice and stop the erosion of these worthwhile, low cost, beneficial NHS Services – take part in the consultation now. There’s no time to lose – it finishes on 21st October.
NHS ENGLAND CONSULTATION:
Items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care: A Consultation on guidance for CCGs
To register your views, go to:
Or Write to: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT
What are the reasons given for decommissioning homeopathic services?
- Costs to the NHS
According to NHS England, last year the cost of primary care prescriptions was £9.2 billion (£9,200,000,000) of which only £92,412 was for homeopathic medicines, approximately 0.001% of the expenditure. Not even a drop in the ocean!
- Lack of scientific evidence
Possibly the most quoted and completely inaccurate statement about homeopathy.
Research into homeopathy is a relatively new field, so we appreciate that more needs to be done, but some evidence is very different from no evidence.
At the end of 2014, peer-reviewed journals had published 189 randomised controlled trials on 100 different medical conditions, 104 of those were placebo-controlled and eligible for detailed review.
How does the evidence for homeopathy compare to conventional medicine?
The % of positive, negative and inconclusive results are similar for both – Chart A represents 188 individual homeopathy trials and Chart B represents 1016 conventional medicine reviews.
The difference in the number of trials is not surprising considering the lack of funding available for research into complementary medicine. For example, in the UK only 0.0085% of the total medical research budget is spent on CAM, and homeopathy is only one of these.
2010 report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
NHS England cites the findings of a significantly flawed and discredited report. The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee concluded that the use of homeopathy was not evidence based and any benefits to patients was down to placebo effect, and these ‘conclusions’ were based on the opinion of just three committee members!
NHS England has ignored the fact that of the 14 members of the committee, only 3 voted in support of its findings, with one abstention – the other 10 members didn’t even bother to cast a vote! Does this really represent a carefully considered evaluation of available evidence?
NHS England has also ignored the fact that immediately following the publication of the report, 70 MPs from across all political parties, signed EDM 908 expressing their concerns.
PLEASE ACT NOW
– the Consultation finishes on 21st October!