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Victory! Last area of England routinely providing homeopathy on the NHS to stop

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire has announced that it will no longer routinely fund homeopathy remedies. This was the last CCG in England to fund homeopathy. Humanists UK, which responded to two consultations held by the CCG, has hailed this announcement as a victory for evidence-based medicine on the NHS.

CCG Clinical Chair, Dr Jonathan Hayes, said, “We are working hard to become an evidence-informed organisation because we need to make the best use of all resources to offer treatment and care to the widest range of people. The decision on homeopathy funding today is a step towards this and brings us in line with national guidelines.”

This decision follows the decision of the board of NHS England in November last year to recommend to all CCGs that they end funding for homeopathic prescriptions and that the Secretary of State for Health should add homeopathy to the ‘blacklist’ of treatments so that it could not be provided on the NHS at all. In April this year, the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (formerly the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital) ended all NHS-funded homeopathy. This left Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire as the only areas of England still routinely providing it.

Homeopathic treatments will now only be available on the NHS in the area if an application is made on behalf of a patient to an Individual Funding Request Panel, which will review whether there are exceptional circumstances in which funding could be granted to that individual patient. It is unlikely that many, if any, homeopathic prescriptions will passed by this panel.

Humanists UK’s Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan commented, ‘We are delighted with this decision by the CCG for Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. This means an ineffective pseudo-scientific treatment, which over the years has wasted scarce NHS resources, has been effectively ended in England. This is a victory for rational evidence-based medicine.

‘According to the CCG the annual cost to the NHS of providing homeopathic treatments in the area is £109,476. This is could fund 22 hip replacements or 170 cataract operations.’  

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Rachel Taggart-Ryan on rachel@humanism.org.uk or 07951 176 245.

Read more about Humanists UK’s campaign work on ‘complementary and alternative medicine’: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/public-ethical-issues/homeopathy/

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

As of this decision, homeopathy is no longer funded anywhere in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Good Thinking Society research suggests that homeopathy spending in Scotland, which continues, still accounts for £1.7 million of NHS expenditure per year.

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