Defending patient choice

The BHA has just launched the second part of their campaign to help fund the legal fees for their judicial review hearing, now scheduled for 1 May. Your support will help make NHS England more accountable, defend patient choice and, more importantly, ensure patients have genuine input on their access to cost-effective healthcare they use and need.

We invite you to visit the British Homeopathic Association’s website to read the full reasoning behind the drive for this judicial review, but also to help support part of the legal costs they will face to get this judicial review.

Pledge to support the Judicial Review

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NHS homeopathy in Bristol

Homeopathy services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are under threat! Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched a consultation which ends on 15th April wanting the public’s view. It’s simple to complete and will only take five minutes at most. To ensure homeopathic services remain in Bristol please take part today!

Complete the online survey

There is a comment field and if you want, why not add:

  1. it seems premature for Bristol CCG to be re-consulting about homeopathic services when NHS England’s decision to remove funding of homeopathic medicines is being legally challenged
  2. the Science and Technology report is not peer reviewed research and it was not endorsed by Government. Over 70 MPs signed an early day motion against it.
  3. there is no patient testimony given or outcome evaluation of the service to merit any views to cut the service
  4. what will patients do without these services? The CCGs fail to outline what will be provided in place of homeopathy when most patient use the services precisely because the usual approaches have not worked and they have not got well
  5. your experiences with homeopathy
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Thousands sign up in support of NHS homeopathy

Almost 35,000 people signed the BHA’s parliamentary petition calling on NHS England to continue to allow doctors to prescribe homeopathy and herbal medicine.

The petition was launched last September when NHS England announced it was it was considering removing herbal and homeopathic medicines from GP prescribing. In less than two weeks it had attracted over 10,000 signatures, a level of support that requires the government to issue an official response. When it came it offered no surprises, predictably reiterating the all too familiar line that it was “for local NHS organisations to decide on the commissioning and funding of these treatments”.

Nevertheless, this did not deter supporters of NHS homeopathy who continued to sign the petition in their thousands until it closed on 13 March 2018.

Cristal Sumner, BHA chief executive, said: “We are delighted at the level of support the petition received and I’d like to thank everyone who has signed and promoted it.”

The BHA is continuing to defend NHS homeopathy and patient choice, and is seeking a judicial review of the NHS England consultation on the grounds it was fundamentally flawed.

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Help homeopathy by signing our petition

Save Homeopathy and Herbal Medicines on the NHS

VOTE NOW!

We have less than 2 weeks left to reach the target and push for a debate in parliament about homeopathy and herbal medicines on the NHS. The consultation which prompted the petition is being challenged legally and the more signatures the better visibility of the issue by those reviewing the case and MPs. Importantly this does not just concern current users of NHS facilities, but also everyone who might be in need of these services in the future.

If you believe in free choice in health care and want to see options available for people who can’t be helped by conventional medicine, and could never afford private care, vote now and please pass the link on as widely as you can.

Sign the parliamentary petition

NB: Your vote will not be counted until you have received an email from the petition organisers and clicked back on their link. It appears that these emails are going in to the junk folders of many people and so the votes are never confirmed. If you do not receive an email within a couple of minutes of voting please check your junk mail.

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NHS England and homeopathy


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.

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The BHA Seeks a Judicial Review Against the NHS Consultation

The NHS is slowly dismantling our healthcare choices without proper and lawful consultation.

Two days ago, the British Homeopathic Association (BHA) commenced its legal challenge, asking for a judicial review of the NHS England consultation, Items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care.

We have, from the outset, believed this consultation to be flawed, on a number of levels. Not only was the timing of the consultation suspect, homeopathy experts and practitioners were not consulted for the drafting of the proposal itself. But, most of all, it is obvious that this consultation never represented a genuine attempt to engage consultees – which is strongly suggestive of a pre-determined decision, one not to be overturned regardless of the outcome.

We invite you to visit the British Homeopathic Association’s website to read the full reasoning behind the drive for this judicial review, but also to help support part of the legal costs they will face to get this judicial review.

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Keep the pressure on NHS England

Thank you to everyone who responded to the NHS England consultation and got involved in the BHA’s campaign: Save Homeopathic and Herbal Medicines.

As you know, the BHA has from the outset questioned the legality of the NHS England consultation which closed on the 21st October. In July, NHS England announced it was consulting on removing 18 treatments from primary care prescribing, including homeopathy. The consultation ended in October and a report will be considered by the NHS England board on 30 November.

We all need to maintain the pressure during this critical time, to make decision-makers aware of the issues and inconsistencies which plague the consultation and its process.

MPs need to be aware that NHS England is basing its decisions on a fundamentally flawed report which is not peer-reviewed evidence. Please write to your MP to make them aware of the issues and your concerns. To help create a letter we have provided some helpful information. Read through the points in our template letter, and please write in your own style to help ensure it is opened and read.

Over 20,000 people have signed the parliamentary petition—Stop NHS England from removing herbal and homeopathic medicines—letting the government know that homeopathy should not have been part of the consultation. Keep sharing so we can have a stronger voice in representing patients and the public.

We, as well as the BHA, believe that NHS England failed to meet its statutory duty in the way it conducted the consultation and will share important news, soon, about critical work being done to defend homeopathy and make NHS England accountable to the public it is supposed to serve.

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The Government responds to our petition

Save Homeopathy and Herbal Medicines on the NHS

This morning, the Government responded to our petition to prevent NHS England abolishing GP prescriptions of herbal and homeopathic medicines. We now have over 14,600 signatures, so an official response was expected.

In essence, the government hasn’t replied to the evidence brought forward in favour of homeopathic and other complementary treatments. Their response blames the rising costs of all prescriptions, citing the need to cut medicines considered of low clinical value. Despite all evidence provided proving the benefits of homeopathy, the statement concludes that:

“… We are not aware of any evidence that demonstrates the therapeutic effectiveness of homeopathic products.”

Department of Health, Government responded

Please, we urge you to read about the clear and proven benefits of homeopathy, and our answers to the most common questions and challenges. We realise that homeopathy is controversial, and that very strong and seemingly incontrovertible statements are made about it. The Homeopathy Research Institute’s frequently asked questions, is a compilation of the most common accusations, along with answers according to available scientific evidence.

Then, please take a look at the Homeopathy Evidence Check rebuttal of the questionable and biased manner a previous evidence check on homeopathy was carried out, by the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, in 2010.

 

What can you do?

In the new light cast by this report, and with the window on the consultation closing fast (on the 21st October 2017), it is imperative that you act, quickly.

Complete the NHS consultation document, while the consultation is still open. You only have until the 21st, then it’s too late! Yes, it is a long and complex form, but you don’t have to fill it all in. We’re here to help, and have prepared a handy guide to help you complete the most important sections.

Please support our motion by signing our petition to parliament. While there, you can read the government’s response in full.


If you haven’t written to your MP yet, please do so now. By writing now, you can mention the government’s lukewarm response. Even if you have already written, consider this your chance to write again and let them know how you feel about today’s response. Tell them what you think of its generic nature and flawed argument, and how it disregards all presented evidence.

You can quickly find your local MP and their address using the UK Parliament’s search facility. If you feel intimidated about writing to an MP, and don’t know what to say or how to cover all the facts, don’t worry, we’ve prepared a template letter as a handy starting point. Please re-word it in your own way, referring to the latest response, so that the letter is not discarded or ignored.


It may seem obvious, but please help spread the word. Tell everyone you think will be interested, by word of mouth, mail, social media or any means you can think of.

And, of course, please contact us with any questions you may have. Thank you.

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Notes to help you in completing the NHS England Consultation

As part of our Save Homeopathy and Herbal medicines campaign, we know from feedback that the consultation response portal on NHS England’s website is not very helpful and is actually obstructive in easily providing feedback. Many questions are optional, meaning you can skip to the questions you want to answer or feel confident in responding to.

Once on the website (NHS England: Items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care):

Page 1: You will be asked for your name and email address, you can choose to remain anonymous but if you feel comfortable it is best to be a named individual or organisation.

Page 2: Is an equalities and health inequalities question—if you feel certain groups of people are at risk or disadvantaged from the cuts proposed, please specify or just move on to the next question.

Page 3: Is a question about evidence for potential impact on health inequalities. Again, answer if you feel you’d like to or skip to next question.

Page 4: Asks about the proposed process for identification of items for removal. If you can provide views please do so or skip to the next question.

Page 5: Select ‘Yes’ in response to “Do you want to provide views on the proposals for CCG commissioning guidance?”, and select homeopathy from the list. You have the opportunity later to add comments on other treatments if you wish.

Page 6: You’re now asked, in two questions, if you agree that there should be no new homeopathy prescriptions, and if you agree that those currently receiving homeopathy should be transferred to a different treatment and the prescription ended.

You can select:
o Agree
o Neither disagree or agree
o Disagree
o Unsure

By selecting disagree you are letting NHS England know you would like to keep homeopathy in the NHS.

You also have the option to provide a further comment on your answer, or on the availability of homeopathy on prescription in general. Remember, some of your comments may be anonymised and published as part of the consultation outcome, so please make sure any comments are respectful and relevant to the consultation.

If you’d like to leave comments on another treatment, you can select it from the list below such a herbal treatments; otherwise, select “I would not like to provide further feedback on any more of these medicines”.

The rest of the questions are self-explanatory and optional.

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Write to Your MP about the NHS consultation on Homeopathy and Herbal Medicines

Save homeopathy and herbal medicine

NHS England is currently in a consultation process, with the clear aim of abolishing prescriptions of Homeopathic and Herbal Medicines. You are not powerless, there are a several things you can do, including writing to your constituency’s MP.

Make sure your MP knows how you feel on this issue, the threat to Homeopathic and Herbal medicines is so great. To make this process easy and painless for you, we’ve prepared a letter for you to print, sign and send. All you need to do is insert your MP’s name, and the date. As you may not know your MP and their address, we’re also providing a link to find your MP and their parliamentary and constituency address.

Resources

  1. Find your MP and their contact information
  2. NHS England Consultation letter to MPs
  3. Read the facts about how Homeopathy and Herbal medicine are a positive force when prescribed by the NHS
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