By Gill Graham www.
In Scotland, the NHS still continues to fund homeopathy and the wonderful news is that in 2017, there was an increase of 9% in expenditure in NHS homeopathy in the Grampian region. In discussing this rise and in defence of the expenditure, an NHS Grampian spokeswoman stated: ‘We have a clinical and ethical responsibility to consider all treatments available to NHS patients to ensure they offer safe, evidence based, effective and person-centred care…Homeopathy can be considered in this arena and we remain connected with the wider debate on its role within the NHS, whilst regularly reviewing our local support for such services within NHS Grampian.’ (The Press and Journal, 2018)
It is clear that the rise in demand is reflective of public demand for homeopathy. Some patients require a different approach and a system of medicine that is tailored to their unique needs and conditions, recognising that the scope of conventional drugs may not need their needs, and at times could be detrimental, through the experiencing of unwanted side effects.
Margaret Wyllie, Chairman of the British Homeopathic Association, stressed the spend was just a “tiny fraction” of the health board’s total drugs bill. She went on to say: “It is of enormous value to the patients who are benefiting from the treatment, many of whom are elderly, have chronic health conditions or suffer adverse reactions from conventional medicines. Without conducting a cost/patient-benefit analysis for any replacement treatments how can politicians or anyone else know if homeopathy is good value or not? At a time when there is growing concern about the overprescribing of antibiotics and other drugs, the Scottish Government should be investigating how homeopathy and other complementary therapies can be used to help reduce the NHS’s spiralling drugs bill.”
Also in Scotland, The NHS Centre for Integrative Care, formerly The Glasgow homeopathic Hospital, continues to offer homeopathic treatment as well as other holistic therapies. It recognises that an integrative approach to health, one which embraces the whole person, offers patients who have chronic conditions a hugely beneficial service. On the Centre’s website (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde) they quote Andre Weil ‘Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasises the therapeutic relationship, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.’
Dr Gary J Smyth, Acting President, Faculty of Homeopathy and General Practitioner (MD) and Homeopathic Physician states:
‘I am encouraged to hear reports of this increase in spending on Homeopathic Medicine in the Grampian region and I hope that it is a trend which continues. From long before the inception of the NHS, Homeopathy has been demonstrated to be a safe, popular, effective and cost-effective treatment choice. A number of doctors and other healthcare professionals within the Grampian region have undertaken training with the Faculty of Homeopathy, at the NHS Centre for Integrative Care in Glasgow. These colleagues treat many patients with a variety of health conditions, who report improvements following Homeopathic treatment. This experience is in keeping with published Clinical Outcome Studies and research data. Both experience and evidence have shown that Homeopathy can play a useful role within the Health Service. Thus, it seems a sensible approach to maintain and increase funding on Homeopathic Medicine not only in this region, but also across the country.’
When homeopathy becomes part of integrative care solutions, patients benefit, studies show health care expenses are reduced and patients feel acknowledged and supported in their healing process. Surely this must be welcomed and cultivated, and integrated into the future of medicine.
Great news all round I say.
Cash strapped NHS (June 2018) The Press and Journal Available at: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/1491814/cash-strapped-nhs-grampian-hikes-spending-on-unproven-homeopathy-medicine/
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Available at: http://www.nhsggc.org.uk/patients-and-visitors/main-hospital-sites/gartnavel-campus/nhs-centre-for-integrative-care/