NHS Bristol CCG is currently conducting a consultation on whether to stop funding for a number of services including homeopathy. Doctors who deliver these services were not formally notified that the consultation was taking place, and we, the homeopathic community, have only just been made aware of it. Consequently, there are only a few days to respond as the closing date is 15th August.
How to respond
The points to make in your response are listed below, and you can help defend NHS homeopathy in Bristol by taking part in the consultation which can be found here (https://www.bristolccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/nhs-service-proposals/decommissioning-homeopathy/).
- NHS Bristol CCG has failed to adequately publicise its proposals and give patients, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders sufficient time to raise objections.
- By launching its consultation during the school summer holidays when many people are away, it appears the CCG is deliberately trying to avoid engaging with patients before cutting these services.
- To support its proposal for decommissioning the homeopathy service the CCG cites the 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee evidence check into homeopathy, implying that it was approved by government. It was not! Only four MPs from the committee voted on this report: three in favour of its conclusions with one abstention. Two of the MPs who supported the report didn’t even attend the committee sessions to hear the evidence. An Early Day Motion criticising the report was signed by 70 MPs unhappy at the way the committee conducted its review of the evidence. No decision about the future provision of healthcare services should be based on a report the government did not endorse.
- Contrary to what the CCG says, there is evidence supporting the effectiveness of homeopathy. For instance, a study of clinical outcomes at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital from November 1997 to October 2003 involving 6,500 individual patients found that more than 70% of these patients recorded clinical improvement following homeopathic treatment. Also, 8,500 patients attending GP surgeries in France were treated with homeopathy. Results showed:
- Patients with upper respiratory tract infections treated with homeopathy responded as well those treated with conventional medicine but used fewer drugs.
- Patients with musculoskeletal disorders required half the amount of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and fewer side-effects when treated with homeopathy.
- Patients with sleep, anxiety or depression were less likely to be prescribed psychotropic drugs when treated by a homeopathic physician.
- Homeopathic medicines produce fewer side-effects than conventional drugs and are generally less expensive. Far from being a drain on valuable NHS resources homeopathy can save the health service money.