Skeptic News: NHS Lothian Homeopathy consultation

NHS Lothian is considering whether it should pay for homeopathy services. Your response to this consultation will help NHS Lothian understand the importance of homeopathy to local people.

From: NHS Lothian

There is increasing demand for health services and increasing financial pressures in the current economic climate. NHS Lothian also faces the challenge of being the health board with the biggest population growth in Scotland. NHS Lothian is looking at the way it provides all its services, to see if it can provide them more efficiently and whether there are any services that it can reduce or stop in order to protect other priority services.

Some Scottish Health Boards and some NHS areas in England do not provide NHS homeopathy services. Some have decided to stop providing NHS homeopathy services and some are currently paying for these services.

Note: This consultation is about homeopathy and not about herbal remedies.

DOWNLOAD: Should NHS Lothian pay for homeopathy? – A Consultation

Take the survey

In addition to being able to fill in the survey or reply by letter, public meetings have been organised across Lothian if you would like to discuss the consultation:

  • East Lothian Thursday 4 October at 3.00 pm Musselburgh East Community Learning Centre Haddington Rd, Musselburgh , EH21 8JJ
  • West Lothian Tuesday 9 October at 10.30 am Howden Park Centre, Howden, Livingston,EH54 6AE
  • Midlothian Wednesday 10 October at 6.00 pm Dalkeith Arts Centre, White Hart Street, Dalkeith
  • Edinburgh Monday 29 October at 2.30pm NHS Lothian, Waverley Gate, Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG

If you are not able to attend your local meeting, you can come along to another one. They are public meetings so anyone may attend on the day, but it would be helpful to have an idea of numbers so please or phone 0131 465 5544 to register your name and contact details.

The 21st Floor encourages Lothian based skeptics to attend these meetings and to make our voice heard.  Details of NHS Lothian spending on homeopathy from a previous 21st Floor FOI request are given below:

NHS Lothian provided the following information on the cost of homeopathic services:

NHS Lothian cost of homeopathic services
Area 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08
Service level agreement with NHS Greater Glasgow 24909 25879 26193 26700 27322
St Johns Service 22390 23262 23544 24000 24560
Dalkeith Clinic inc Leith CTC 57980 53629 43867 61517 48680
Total 102987 92063 78751 112217 84803

The following figures for patients attending homeopathic services were provided:

NHS Lothian homeopathic patients
Year New patients Return Patients Total
2003/04 214 997 1211
2004/05 205 1257 1462
2005/06 295 1457 1752
2006/07 273 1806 2079
2007/08 144 1099 1243
Total 1131 6616 7747

You may wish to mention in your submissions that the current provision of homeopathy by NHS health boards in Scotland directly goes against the ambitions of the NHS Scotland healthcare quality strategy.

This strategy mandates that healthcare should be effective and efficient. Homeopathy fails on both these counts and as such it is ridiculous that it this ineffective and inefficient treatment is available free of charge on the NHS and funded by the taxpayer.

It may also be worth mentioning that reducing or removing NHS provision of homeopathy will not limit patient choice. As private provision is still readily available.

Another nail in the coffin of NHS provision is that the NHS could fall foul of existing laws regarding the licensing and prescribing of homeopathic remedies. Unlicensed medicines number in the thousands and make up the majority of homeopathic prescriptions, while there are only 50 licenced homeopathic medicines.

Tax payer funded health services should simply not be providing treatments that are unlicensed, ineffective and inefficient.

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0 Responses to Skeptic News: NHS Lothian Homeopathy consultation

  1. Tim says:

    Thanks for bring this to our attention. I am shocked my local NHS Trust would be spending money on this given the state of NHS budgets.

  2. Les says:

    Averaging £100,000 per year is a tidy sum of money and should not be wasted. If the remedies are merely exploiting the placebo effect, it would be much cheaper to give the patients an aspirin and tell them it is a homeopathetic cure.

  3. jabba says:

    Thanks for this. I have alerted the NHS through their complaints division that there are organised groups encouraging their members and followers to use what should be a public survey i.e. for individual members of the public-not groups-to further their own ends. Keep on posting guys. The more info I can link to to expose your activities-the better.

  4. Will you also be reporting the following sites?

    It is worth noting that Edinburgh Skeptics have submitted to the consultation as I have I, as a private individual living in Lothian.

    It is also worth noting that Edinburgh Skeptics and skeptics in general are also members of the public.

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