Lord Uist’s ruling dismissing the call for a judicial review of NHS Lothian’s decision to cease provision of its homeopathy service is a major blow, not only for the sick 74-year-old woman who was courageous enough to take on the health board and bring the case, but for all who believe in patient choice.
The basis for the legal challenge was NHS Lothian’s apparent failure to take into account its public sector equality duty in reaching its decision; specifically, its highly inaccurate assertion that patients who used the homeopathy service tended to be more affluent members of the community and therefore could afford to pay for the treatment privately – an assertion that the health board failed to back up with any supporting evidence. While ignoring this argument Lord Uist appears to have made a judgement on the efficacy of homeopathy which throws into question Lord Uist’s focus and objectivity in making his final judgement.
Naturally the British Homeopathic Association is disappointed by this ruling, but it must be remembered that the real losers are those patients in Lothian whose health has benefited from NHS homeopathy and are now being deprived of the treatment because, like the patient Honor Watt who challenged NHS Lothian, they cannot afford to get the care privately that they once received through the NHS.
British Homeopathic Association