Reported today in Pulse,
Campaigners look to have lost their fight to save a leading homeopathic hospital, in a landmark case that accelerates the treatment’s deepening crisis over NHS funding.
West Kent PCT decided there was ‘not enough evidence of clinical effectiveness’ to justify funding routine homeopathic consultations and treatments at the Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital, a decision which may force its closure.
Amazingly, most patients and GP’s did not want to see funding for homeopathy,
Campaigners against the cuts in West Kent applied for a judicial review last year . Although it was later dropped it forced the PCT to launch its own independent review. But this found 66% of patients and 80% of GPs did not support funding homeopathic services at the hospital, justifying the PCT decision to stop referrals for homeopathy.
It won’t be long before the rest follow.
Dr Tim Robinson, a GP who provides a local homeopathic service in Dorset, said this was a ‘test case’ which would send ripples around the country. ‘The worry is that other PCTs may follow West Kent’s lead. The monies that are being spent on homeopathy compared with the NHS budget are small and are falling.’
Let’s be clear. The Quackometer does not want to see homeopathy banned. It just thinks that spending public money on witchcraft cannot be justified in a modern social healthcare system. GPs may well still prescribe homeopathic remedies if they like and I do not have too much of a problem with this, but there ought to be a franker debate about the ethics involved in lying to patients about the pills. At the end of the day, people can still pop into Boots the Chemist if they so wish and pick up some sugar pills. Or even, if they are feeling brave, consult a lay homeopath. But the NHS does not have to pretend anymore that homeopathy works. A good decision.