The government’s Patient Choice agenda purports to give you the right to be treated under the NHS at the hospital of your choice and states that you will be involved in decisions about the treatment you receive.
“… patients will be at the heart of everything we do. So they will have more choice and control, helped by easy access to the information they need about the best GP’s and hospitals. Patients will be in charge of making decisions about their care…”Foreword of Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS,
signed by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health. Published July 2010
Yet a number of Primary Care Trusts (PCT) – the local NHS organisations currently responsible for funding the health needs of the community – have either withdrawn their contracts or are severely restricting patient referrals to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM).
The government has no plans to cut NHS funding, but without an increase to its annual budget, the NHS finds it has to severely restrict its spending. Less than 1% of the NHS’s £110 billion budget is spent funding the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine and the other homeopathic hospitals. In 2009 The Rt Hon Mike O’Brien MP, at that time Health Minister for Public Services, reported that only “£152,000 out of a massive £11 billion drugs budget“, was spent on homeopathy. We need to ensure that these unique, inexpensive, cost-effective facilities remain on the NHS and available to patients.
As patients, we want to receive the best standard of care, delivered by regulated health professionals in a safe environment. The Government wants to develop an innovative, patient-centred national health service.
The RLHIM fulfils both these objectives. It is a unique resource and a flagship for integrating complementary and conventional medicine within the NHS. Delivered by fully qualified conventional medical practitioners, patients are provided with high quality medical care, and claims a high level of satisfaction, particularly for patients with complex, chronic problems and long-term conditions. But the future of this and other similar hospitals in the NHS are under serious threat.
Over the past few years there has been a well funded, well orchestrated campaign to discredit homeopathy specifically, and to stop the NHS funding this and other forms of complementary medicine.
If successful in their aim, these moves will serve to deny us the choice the government says it is offering to us, the patients.
From Cuppa’s to Campaigning
Although originally founded as a voluntary organisation to support the patients and staff of the then Royal London Homœopathic Hospital (renamed in September 2010), these days, the role of the Friends has expanded. Now, whilst we still serve a good cuppa, friends and supporters are also campaigning for the rights of patients to retain access to homeopathy and other complementary therapies on the NHS. Why not join us?