The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM) will cease to provide homeopathic treatments on the NHS from next month, it has been revealed.
Formerly known as the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, the provider will stop offering NHS-funded homeopathic remedies in April, according to a patient leaflet.
“The RLHIM has informed patients that it is not providing homeopathic medicines on the NHS”
The hospital, located in Great Ormond Street, said the move was in response to a decision by local commissioners to cease funding of the controversial therapy in line with national health service policy.
However, the commissioning group argued that it had stopped funding homeopathy around five years ago and suggested that the hospital was only now set to comply with its policy.
The specialist hospital, run by University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, is one of the largest public sector providers of complementary medicine in Europe.
Originally established in 1849 by Frederic Hervey Foster Quin, the first homeopathic physician in England, the hospital joined the NHS in 1948.
The hospital was renamed in September 2010 to reflect its activities that, as well as homeopathy, had expanded to include acupuncture, rheumatology and a range of other treatments.
The leaflet said: From 3 April 2018, The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine will no longer be providing NHS-funded homeopathic remedies for any patients as part of their routine care.
“This is in line with the funding policy of Camden Clinical Commissioning Group, the local NHS body that plans and pays for healthcare services in this area,” stated the leaflet.
“Should you choose you will be able to purchase these medicines from the RLHIM pharmacy, while other homeopathic pharmacies may also be able to supply the medicines,” it added.
A trust spokeswoman said: “Camden Clinical Commissioning Group is not funding homeopathic medicines, in line with its Procedures of Limited Clinical Effectiveness Policy.
“The RLHIM has informed patients that it is not providing homeopathic medicines on the NHS and such medicines will have to be paid for privately,” said the spokeswoman.
She highlighted that the RLHIM also offered a “range of NHS services from experienced physicians with broad skills”.
Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
Source: Basher Eyre
“It offers a patient-centred approach to chronic physical health conditions and many different management options may be discussed and advised,” she said.
The spokeswoman stated that, previously, approximately £50,000 a year was spent on homeopathy prescriptions.
“The CCG will reduce the overall funding it provides to the RLHIM in 2018-19 to reflect the fact that it is no longer funding homeopathic medicines,” she said.
“The CCG has not requested any retrospective repayment for homeopathic prescribing,” she added.
However, in a separate statement, the commissioner said: “The Camden CCG funding policy has not changed.
“Since 2013, our Procedures of Limited Clinical Effectiveness policy has not permitted local NHS funding of homeopathy treatment (including Iscador),” it stated.
“The Camden funding policy is in line with national recommendations based on clinical evidence,” it said, adding that the RLHIM “had recently taken steps to ensure they are adhering to the local funding policy”.
It noted that hospital had “informed their patients of this, including providing information on purchasing medicines from their and other homeopathic pharmacies”.
The change in London now leaves homeopathy only available on the health service in the West of England and in part of Scotland.
NHS homeopathic service are delivered on behalf of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust by the community interest company Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine.
The Centre for Integrative Care, which is on the Gartnavel Hospital site and part of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, continues to list homeopathy as one of the treatments it provides.
NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Highland and NHS Lothian have all ceased to make referrals to the centre, which was previously called the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital
In 2017, NHS England recommended that GPs and other prescribers should stop providing homeopathy.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence does not currently recommend that homeopathy should be used in the treatment of any health condition.