Homeopathy charity challenges flawed NHS England consultation
The British Homeopathic Association (BHA) has launched a legal challenge to NHS England’s consultation on whether to stop funding homeopathy. We fully support the efforts of the BHA to keep homeopathy as a choice in the NHS.
The BHA is questioning the legality of the consultation process on a number of grounds and is seeking a judicial review.
At the same time, we should also remember that herbal medicine is also receiving exactly the same treatment from NHS England. You may think that this isn’t important, you can grow your own herbs … but properly manufactured herbal medicines, such as Iscador (made from Mistletoe), used in the treatment of cancer, cannot just be picked and safely made into a nice cup of tea . Nor can foxgloves (digitalis) – used for heart complaints, but poisonous if prepared incorrectly. Natural doesn’t always equate to safe, so we need to have our herbal and homeopathic medicines correctly prepared and prescribed by professionals.
In July, NHS England announced it was consulting on removing 18 treatments from primary care prescribing, including homeopathic and herbal medicines. The consultation ended in October and a report will be considered by the NHS England board on 30 November.
“We believe NHS England failed to meet its legal duties in the way it conducted the consultation,” says Cristal Sumner, BHA chief executive.
The BHA initiated its application for judicial review on the basis that consultation was fundamentally flawed. The BHA argues that NHS England did not consult with any homeopathy experts or practitioners before reaching its proposal, nor give details of how the therapy is used in primary care. It therefore failed to provide adequate information on which the public and other interested parties could make an informed response.
The BHA also maintains that the consultation was biased against homeopathy from the outset and the decision predetermined. Ms Sumner says when the consultation was announced NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, was widely reported in the media saying homeopathy was a “misuse of scarce NHS funds”.
“We strongly feel that this was an attempt to influence the outcome of the consultation and is contrary to how public consultations should be conducted,” she says.
“We strongly feel that it was an attempt to influence the outcome of the consultation and was contrary to how public consultations should be conducted,” she says.
Acting on behalf of the BHA are a team from highly-ranked specialist solicitors and Richard Clayton QC, who has an outstanding track record in cases involving public policy.
Mr Clayton commented: “NHS England’s approach calls into question a number of important legal issues which requires a Court decision.”
Patients treated with homeopathy on the NHS have found it to be beneficial to their health, quite often after they’ve failed to respond to conventional treatments. The BHA maintains that these patients won’t disappear – they will be compelled to use more services not less that will inevitably be more expensive.
Ms Sumner says: “As well as limiting choice in healthcare provision and preventing doctors from treating the way they feel appropriate, banning homeopathy will end up costing the health service more money, which is contrary to NHS England’s stated objective.”
To cover the legal costs of the judicial review the BHA has set up a crowd funding page on CrowdJustice.
Join us in helping the BHA fund its legal challenge to keep homeopathy in the NHS .
HELP SAVE HOMEOPATHIC AND HERBAL MEDICINE
YOUR ACTION NEEDED!
Everyone who believes in freedom of choice, protecting patient choice and the availability of homeopathic and other complementary medicines on the NHS should sign this petition.
The NHS England Consultation has now closed, but you can still register your views by writing to your MP at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA and to NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT
PLEASE ACT NOW
When the NHS was set up in 1948, negotiations took place between doctors representing the Faculty of Homoeopathy and Aneuran Bevan on behalf of the Government so that the five homoeopathic hospitals could be absorbed into the Service. They have continued to be part of it since then but obviously the services on offer have changed in tune with various re-organisations of the NHS over the years.
As a centre of excellence in homeopathy and other CAM therapies, the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine treats patients who come from all over the country seeking an answer to their health problems. Many have long standing conditions which have not responded to conventional treatment but at the RLHIM they find help, understanding and support which enables them to improve their health and regain a worthwhile quality of life.
Homeopathy has always been a controversial subject but it continues to help patients who want it, choose it or have come to it as a last resort but a small but well organised group of detractors is determined to see homeopathy removed from the NHS. Should they be successful, homeopathy and the other complementary therapies on offer would only be available to those who could afford to pay for them. This would be detrimental to the health of patients who find an answer to their health problems at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine and the other clinics and hospitals offering complementary medicine.