Many Faculty members and interested members of the public will have seen media reports that the NHS is recommending homeopathic medicines are no longer made available on prescription. This is incorrect.
The actual position is that on Friday 21st July the Faculty of Homeopathy was informed of NHS England’s Clinical Commissioners Group consultation, “Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: a consultation on guidance for CCGs.”
This consultation aims to produce commissioning guidelines which will reduce the 1.1 billion prescription items dispensed in primary care in 2016, at a cost of £9.2billion. Rightly, the NHS is concerned to ensure the greatest value for the money it spends in the face of rising costs and finite resources.
The £92,412 national spend on homeopathy (source: NHS Digital) is included in the consultation round. The final policy decision on this spend has not already been taken, as reported in some newspapers. The consultation will seek the views of all CCGs, the public and patients, and any relevant interest group or body. It will be open for three months from 21 July until 21 October 2017. The consultation document can be viewed and responded to by clicking on this link.
The inclusion of homeopathy in the consultation is illogical. Patients would stand to be prescribed more expensive, conventional drugs in place of homeopathy, defeating the object of the cost-saving exercise. Furthermore the NHS wishes to reduce the of amount prescription drugs patients take but would then stop offering complementary therapies which can help achieve this objective.
As the representative body for healthcare professionals who may prescribe homeopathy alongside conventional medicine, the Faculty will be making the strongest representations on behalf of its members and their patients in the consultation period. Indeed, Faculty President Dr Helen Beaumont has already appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on Saturday 22nd July to defend NHS homeopathy. The interview may be heard by clicking on this link. The item begins at 50 minutes into the broadcast.
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The Faculty Council will be discussing how best to respond to the consultation and will inform members of its deliberations in due course.
Enquiries arising should be directed to John Burry, Communications Manager, Faculty of Homeopathy on 0203 640 5903 firstname.lastname@example.org