The government’s Patient Choice agenda purports to give you the right to be treated under the NHS at the hospital of your choice and states that you will be involved in decisions about the treatment you receive.
Foreword of Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS,
signed by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health.
Published July 2010
As patients, we want to receive the best standard of care, delivered by regulated health professionals in a safe environment. The Government wants to develop an innovative, patient-centred national health service.
The RLHIM fulfils both these objectives. It is a unique resource and a flagship for integrating complementary and conventional medicine within the NHS. Delivered by fully qualified conventional medical practitioners, patients are provided with high quality medical care, and claims a high level of satisfaction, particularly for patients with complex, chronic problems and long-term conditions.
The hospital’s patient population is extremely diverse and many find the treatments available are compatible with their cultural needs and preferences. A great many have usually been through the ‘conventional’ NHS treatments for long-term medical or multiple chronic conditions and have been referred as a last resort. It is here, at the RLHIM, that they find the help and support needed.
Yet despite the Government saying “… patients will be at the heart of everything we do … Patients will be in charge of making decisions about their care” , it has become increasingly difficult to get a referral to the RLHIM. A number of PCTs have withdrawn their contracts and others are subjecting patients to ‘management panels’ which appear unsympathetic to patient choice.
If these services are removed from the NHS the only option for anyone wanting these services would be to pay, but the majority of patients cannot afford to go privately. This scenario is not in the best interests of patient choice, or patient safety.
From Cuppas to Campaigning
Although originally founded as a voluntary organisation to support the patients and staff of the Hospital these days the role of the Friends has expanded. Now, whilst we still serve a good cuppa, friends and supporters are also campaigning for the rights of patients to retain access to homeopathy and other complementary therapies on the NHS.