HOMEOPATHY ON THE NHS?

Only If You Pay For Your Prescription!

It is indeed a sad day when the RLHIM – formerly the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital – has to write to its patients to say they must now pay for their prescriptions for homeopathic and herbal medicines as these will no longer be available on the NHS.

Built with funds raised by grateful patients and supporters in the 1800s, the hospital has a long, proud history, including 70 years of service within the NHS. The hospital and its staff remain to provide services, but its spirit, its raison d’être and its countless innovations, making it the UK’s finest centre for integrated healthcare, will be put at risk.

Camden CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) has told the hospital that it will not fund homeopathic or herbal prescriptions, which includes the Anthroposophic medicine, Iscador, used as a complementary treatment in cancer care.

The hospital is in the process of writing to its patients to explain the situation and inform them that they will now have to pay for these medicines themselves.

It is our understanding that Camden has never held a public consultation on withdrawing these services, but say the decision is in line with their Procedures of Limited Clinical Effectiveness policy (PoLCE), which is in line with national recommendations based on clinical evidence. These inform national guidelines set out by NHS England  (england.contactus@nhs.net).

The actions of Camden CCG and the guidance of NHS England will, without doubt, have a negative effect on patient choice and the continuing success of integrating the best of conventional and complementary medicine within the NHS.

NHS England challenged

Many of you are already aware that the Friends of the RLHIM is supporting the legal challenge instigated by the  British Homeopathic Association  (BHA) to NHS England’s consultation last year regarding the NHS funding of homeopathic and herbal medicine in Primary care.

The legality of the actual process of this consultation is being questioned on a number of grounds and the BHA, supported by the Friends as an Interested Party, is seeking a Judicial Review.

The application for Judicial Review was initiated on the basis that the consultation was fundamentally flawed on many levels and argues that NHS England failed to provide adequate information on which the public and other interested parties could make an informed response.                     

When the consultation was announced, NHS England’s Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, was reported as saying homeopathy was a “misuse of scarce NHS funds”, suggesting a bias against homeopathy from the outset – and a predetermined decision.

“We strongly feel that this was an attempt to influence the outcome of the consultation and is contrary to how public consultations should be conducted,” says Cristal Sumner, Chief Executive of the BHA.

Patients treated with homeopathy on the NHS have found it to be beneficial to their health, quite often after they’ve failed to respond to conventional treatments. These patients will be compelled to use more NHS services and that will inevitably be more expensive.

Many RLHIM patients have already been treated conventionally with no improvement to their health, while others suffer such severe side-effects from chemical drugs that they cannot take them. These patients will continue to need treatment and, in all likelihood, will cost the NHS more with conventional prescriptions and additional healthcare services and their quality of life will be impaired.

NHS England has since published its decision to advise GPs not to issue prescriptions for homeopathic or herbal medicine.

Join us in helping the BHA fund its legal challenge to keep homeopathy available on the NHS.

VETERINARY HOMEOPATHY UNDER THREAT

Sadly, the move against homeopathy and other complementary therapeutic approaches has also spread to its use in treating animals.

On Monday, 16th April Members of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS) and supporters will be holding a march in support of veterinary homoeopathy – if you can get to Parliament Square for midday, do join them!

What has caused this action? In November 2017 the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) published a Position Statement saying: ‘Homeopathy exists without a recognised body of evidence for its use …. It is vital to protect the welfare of animals … that any treatments not underpinned by a recognised evidence base or sound scientific principles do not delay or replace those that do.’

Homeopathic vets and animal owners and supporters came together in January to deliver a petition, with 15,000 signatures, in support of veterinary homeopathy to the President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

For more information go to www.bahvs.com

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP SAVE NHS HOMEOPATHY & HERBAL MEDICINE

Our thanks to the British Homeopathic Association for this information poster.

1.  Write to your MP

Make your MP aware of why they should back NHS funding for homeopathy and your concerns about the recent unjustified attacks on homeopathy. It is always helpful to give some details of your experience of the value of homeopathy.

2.  Write to the Chief Executive of your CCG

If funding has been cut where you live, it will be because of a decision by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – they run the health services in the area.

Tell them you are unhappy about it, giving details of how homeopathy has helped you. Send a copy of your letter to your local Healthwatch – these are a part of the local community and work in partnership with other local organisations.

3. Successful homeopathic treatment?

Let your CCG know that money spent on homeopathy is worth it and that your treatment was effective, especially in comparison with conventional medicine. Send a copy of your letter to your local Healthwatch, too.

4.  Tell the media about how homeopathy helped you.

Your success story can help us to achieve more positive media coverage of homeopathy in the NHS.

5.  Join the Friends or simply make a donation

Support our work and help us to make sure that patients can have access to homeopathy in the NHS.

Decommissioning NHS Homeopathy by stealth!

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:

Online: https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/items-routinely-prescribed

Email: england.medicines@nhs.net

 Or Write to: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT

What are the reasons given for decommissioning homeopathic services?

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

 

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