Giving patients choice
The BHA is committed to the widespread availability of homeopathy across the NHS. Click on the following link to take you to the bottom of the page for six different ways to help us keep homeopathy in the NHS.
You can help us to keep homeopathy in the NHS by joining the BHA as a Friend. Your support will allow us to continue our campaigning work and continue to fight for what patients want – a choice of healthcare.
Keeping services where they belong
Research shows that more than two thirds of patients who have received homeopathic treatment on the NHS say it has helped them. But despite the demand from patients, services are being cut in the NHS.
We believe that homeopathy should stay in the NHS because:
- It’s where the medical expertise is. We believe that only statutorily registered healthcare professionals should be treating people.
- Integrating a homeopathic service with conventional medical practice saves the health service money.
- Health choices should not be limited by ability to pay.
- Homeopathy works! Thousands of patients derive health benefits not found elsewhere in the NHS.
We need your help to keep these valuable services as part of our health service, for the benefit of everyone.
An overview of homeopathy in the NHS
NHS homeopathic hospitals
As well as around 400 GPs who integrate homeopathy into their practice in the UK, there are three NHS homeopathic hospitals – Bristol, London and Glasgow. All have been part of the NHS since it was founded in 1948. These are consultant-led services staffed by fully qualified doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who have additional training in homeopathy and other complementary therapies such as acupuncture. Patients are referred to the NHS homeopathic hospitals in the usual way – by their GP or specialist.
The homeopathic hospitals are a unique asset to the NHS, for several reasons:
- They offer patients genuine choice of treatment by providing evidence-based, highly professional complementary medicine. Most patients are unable to afford private treatment.
- Although small they are highly innovative: for instance acupuncture for pain and complementary cancer care, both now widely available in the NHS, were pioneered by the homeopathic hospitals.
- They have made important research contributions, for instance researching “effectiveness gaps” – conditions for which GPs lack effective treatments – and the outcome and cost-effectiveness of complementary medicine.
The hospitals help many patients including those with complex chronic problems and for whom conventional medicine has proved ineffective or caused serious side-effects. The treatments offered by the homeopathic hospitals are complementary to, and integrated with, conventional treatment. Treatment is provided by qualified healthcare professionals working within the NHS.
Hospitals at risk
Although the government has re-affirmed its commitment to homeopathy in the NHS, local NHS commissioning and the financial crisis currently affecting the NHS have placed these unique national assets at risk. Decisions that affect patients’ ability to choose their treatment are being made to satisfy short-term financial needs by NHS commissioners who have little understanding of the value that homeopathic hospitals provide.
NHS spending on homeopathy is very small.
Total NHS budget: £110 billion
Annual spend on inpatients with adverse reactions to drugs: £466 million
Annual spend on management consultants: £300 million
Annual spend on homeopathy: £4 million
The contracts the homeopathic hospitals have with Primary Care Trusts are a minuscule proportion of the NHS budget – and yet make such a big difference to patients. Outcome studies from the hospitals consistently show that well over two thirds of patients feel better after treatment.
Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group sought the views of the public on whether or not to cease funding for its NHS homeopathy service.
To learn more about the consultation, which ended on July 15, click here Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group Homeopathy And Iscador Treatments.
NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) conducted a public consultation and ceased its homeopathy service in June 2016. The service was provided by the Liverpool Medical Homeopathy Service which was run by Dr Hugh Nielsen and Dr Sue de Lacy.
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.
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.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have now announced the closure of the inpatient service at the Glasgow Centre for Integrative Care, ignoring the pleas of patients, the professional opinion of clinicians and the extremely positive patient feedback and outcome results for this very vulnerable group of patients.
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.
MSPs across all parties have been extremely supportive. Campaigners have presented a petition calling for the CIC to be centrally-funded and this has now been referred to the Health & Sports Committee of the Scottish Parliament.
Hospital contacts and assistance
Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine
(formerly Bristol Homeopathic Hospital)
Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine
Please contact Holly Mash on 07875 767403 if you are interested in joining as a Friend.
Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
(Formerly known as the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital)
University College London Hospitals NHS Trust
60 Great Ormond Street
London WC1N 3HR
Tel: 020 3448 8930
The hospital has a database of supporters – contact Sato to add your name:
Projects Manager Sato Liu
Tel: 020 7391 8930
Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
The Friends of the RLHIM is a charity that supports the hospital:
NHS Centre for Integrative Care
(Formerly known as the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital)
1053 Great Western Road
Glasgow Friends’ Group
Contact: Tasneem Nadeem (Secretary)
1. Write to your MP.
Make your MP aware of why he/she should back NHS funding for homeopathy and your concerns about the recent unjustified attacks on homeopathy. You can use our sample letter as a guide. It is always a good idea to give some details of your personal experience of the value of homeopathy. You can also ask them to table a Parliamentary Question. See our list of suggested questions.
2. Write to the Primary Care Trust’s Chief Executive.
If funding has been cut where you live, it will be because of a decision made by the body that runs health services in the area – the Primary Care Trust (PCT). Let your PCT know that you are unhappy about it – see our sample letter to PCTs. Give details of how homeopathy has helped you. Include a copy of the Faculty of Homeopathy’s evidence summary. Send a copy of your letter to your Local Involvement Network.
3. Successful homeopathic treatment? Tell your PCT about it.
Let your PCT 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 Involvement Network.
4. Tell the media about how NHS homeopathy helped you.
Contact John Burry, Communications Manager on 01582 408682 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your success story can help us to achieve more positive media coverage of homeopathy in the NHS.
5. Pledge support to your local homeopathic hospital.
Find details of your nearest NHS homeopathic service on our contacts for campaigners section above.
6. Make a donation to the BHA’s campaign fund.
Support our work and help us to make sure that patients can have access to homeopathy in the NHS.