NHS England’s decision that homeopathy should not be prescribed in primary care is disappointing but not unexpected given the fundamentally flawed consultation it conducted around homeopathy. Instead of listening to patients who have benefited from the therapy, or to the doctors who have treated them, NHS England chooses to base its decision on the discredited House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s report from 2010 and the 2015 study by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, which is so flawed it is currently being investigated by the Commonwealth Ombudsman, facts NHS England conveniently failed to mention in the reams of documentation it produced for its board meeting.
It is shocking that when decisions to cut health services are being made, no critical questions as to how this will affect patients are asked by NHS England board members. Failure to explain what other treatments patients can expect to receive instead of homeopathy—along with the comparative costs of these treatments—is indicative of an organisation that has scant regard for the patient experience, and only pays lip service to the idea of genuine engagement with those who will be most affected by the decisions being made.
As previously reported, the BHA is still going ahead with its legal challenge calling for a judicial review of NHS England’s consultation.