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Camdem New Journal October 15, 2010

Threat to Homeopathy patients - North London Sector (NCL) NHS Trust announce plans to extend controversial “low-priority treatments” policy Published: 14 October, 2010

HOMOEOPATHY patients will have to provide health bosses with “conclusive evidence” that it works before they can be referred for treatment on the NHS.

The North London Sector (NCL) NHS Trust has announced plans to extend its controversial “low-priority treatments” policy to include complementary medicine.

The decision to severely restrict NHS patients’ access to 25 procedures – including wisdom teeth removal, varicose vein surgery, tonsillectomy and male circumcision – was heavily criticised by patient and medical groups when it was first revealed in March.

It means only “special cases” will be treated on the NHS and only after a lengthy appeal process.

The proposals to extend the list to include homoeopathy have stoked fears the former Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital in Bloomsbury could be closed.

A spokesman for the Friends of RLHH group said: “The policy is an underhanded process aimed directly at reducing or completely stopping patient referrals to the RLHH.

Under the new system, any patient wanting homoeopathic treatment would have to provide a panel with “conclusive evidence... of the effectiveness of the treatment you are being referred for”.

The RLHH changed its name to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine in September, five months after it was compared to a centre for “witchcraft” by the British Medical Association (BMA). Homoeopathy – where patients are treated using vastly diluted “water potions” – is not seen as a credible alternative to Western medicine by scientists.

Patient campaigners warned the list would grow when the treatment ban was announced in March and began in September.

A NCL board report said a “comprehensive piece of work reviewing procedures of limited clinical value” had been undertaken by health bosses in the Central Sector London (CSL), adding: “This will form the basis of extending the list of procedures within the sector.”

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As a paying contributor to the NHS, a patient does not have to prove anything. He should ask and receive the treatment of choice.

Or is choice a nasty word?


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