Homeopathic Treatment Loses Public Funding in the UK

Despite homeopathic treatment being used extensively in the UK for a range of ailments, a decision to halt NHS funding for homeopathic treatments has been advocated by a High Court judge. The governing body of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was the last in the country to decide against NHS funding for homeopathy, aside from when exceptional circumstances exist. With the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine (PCIM) in Clifton, Bristol being the final facility in England to offer homeopathic treatment that is funded by the NHS, the decision by the CCG effectually ends all publicly-funded treatment in the country. Going forward, the CCG’s Individual Funding Request (IFR) panel would need a doctor or clinician to motivate why a patient’s circumstances are of a unique nature prior to treatment being provided.

BHA Loses Appeal Against NHS Decision

The British Homeopathic Association (BHA) attempted to legally challenge the 2017 decision by the NHS to stop paying the annual cost of homeopathic remedies. The BHA argued that last year’s consultation and the accompanying press release were not only biased but that the conclusions were all predetermined. The press release in question included the statement made by Mr Stevens regarding homeopathy being a placebo at best The allegations were subsequently rejected by Mr Justice Supperstone, although he did acknowledge that they were, indeed, robust. He further rejected the BHA’s complaint that the evidence that was cited by the NHSE to indicate that homeopathy was not an effectual course of treatment was too complex for the general public to comprehend.

NHS Cites Potential Savings as Reason for Funding Cuts

It has been more than a year since NHS England called to end the prescription of homeopathic remedies. The move came as part of the NHS’s drive to save in excess of £190m a year through a set of revised national guidelines which include the homeopathy clause. According to the draft consultation which was released, homeopathic prescription cost NHS England in excess of £92,412 in 2016 and a total of more than £578,000 over since 2012. According to Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, homeopathy is a placebo at best that abuses the very scarce funds of the NHS. The British Medical Association and the House of Common’s science and technology committee both echoed Stevens’ comments with their call to end the prescription of any homeopathy-related therapies.

RLHIM Lost NHS-Funding Back in April

As from the 3rd of April this year, the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (formerly known as the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital) ceased to provide NHS-funded homeopathic remedies for patients as part of their routine care. The hospital, which described itself as the largest public-sector provider of integrated medicine in all of Europe was founded as the London Homoeopathic Hospital by Dr Frederick Foster Hervey Quin in 1849 and has been serving the area ever since. Between 2002 and 2005 the RLHH underwent an all-inclusive £20m renovation that transformed it into a state-of-the-art research and treatment facility for homeopathic and complementary therapies. Today, 13 years later the only way to obtain homeopathic treatments from the RLHIM is to privately purchase the medicines from the pharmacy with treatment only being made available to exceptional cases.

Despite the major funding setback, the BHA undertakes to continue championing the health benefits of homeopathy as well as the rights of the patients to choose homeopathy as their course of treatment. Together with the PCIM, the BHA will persist in providing homeopathic care for patients who have become reliant on alternative remedies for improved health and well-being.

Resources & Further Reading:

Pharmacy Business – Public-Funded Homeopathic Treatment Effectively Ends In UK https://www.pharmacy.biz/public-funded-homeopathic-treatment-effectively-ends-in-uk/

Oxford Homeopathy The Benefits of Homeopathy http://www.oxford-homeopathy.org.uk/homeopathy-benefits.htm

BBC – NHS homeopathy ending in London https://www.bbc.com/news/health-43373817

The Telegraph – High Court backs NHS decision to stop funding homeopathy https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/06/05/high-court-backs-nhs-decision-stop-funding-homeopathy/