Lothian withdrew their NHS homeopathic service at the end of March 2014, closing three clinics and stopping referrals to the Glasgow Centre for Integrative Care (formerly the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital). One brave patient is seeking a judicial review of the consultation process through the courts, on the grounds that they have failed to comply with Equality legislation. NHS Lothian alleged that the clinics were in affluent areas and therefore patients could afford private treatment if the service closed.
MSPs across all parties have been extremely supportive and representations continue to be made to Holyrood over the closure of a service which was first established in 1994 and which was shown to be both effective and economic.
After carefully watching proceedings in Lothian, neighbouring NHS Lanarkshire followed suit with a similar consultation and, despite an overwhelmingly positive response to their online survey, have also decided to cease referrals to Glasgow.
NHS Highland stopped referrals sometime ago, and the loss of patients from these three large areas is having a detrimental knock-on effect on the Glasgow CIC.
The SNP’s 2011 manifesto states: Access to alternative therapies such as homeopathy can help improve the quality of life of patients. We will support patient choice in this respect and encourage GPs to do likewise.
Campaigners are hoping to meet Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being & Sport, Shona Robison, to discuss this with her and find a way to move forward and safeguard the future of the hospital in such a negative climate.
Sefton and The Wirral
Supporters of homeopathy in the northwest are still fighting on two fronts.
With the contract governing the provision of homeopathy services for people living on the Wirral ending at the end of March 2011, campaigners are keeping up the pressure to ensure their views are heard by the local PCT. But a recent development has complicated any future negotiations. Liverpool Community Health, who currently run the homeopathy service in the area including the Wirral, have indicated they no longer want to “manage” the Department of Homeopathic Medicine. Although Liverpool Community Health informed Liverpool PCT of this earlier this year, as yet the PCT has not come back with any proposals as to who should be responsible for the service.