Following a four year review, NHS Lanarkshire has agreed it will no longer refer new patients to the Centre for Integrative Care (CIC, formerly known as the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital).
From April 1 2015, patients will be referred to existing services within Lanarkshire such as pain management, counselling, psychology, acupuncture and cognitive behavioural therapy. Lanarkshire patients currently using CIC services will continue to do so for the duration of their treatment.
The NHS Lanarkshire decision followed an extensive review which included taking evidence from individuals and organisations who presented cases in favour of the CIC services as well as those who questioned the clinical efficacy of homoeopathy and other treatments available at the CIC.
Among those invited and who took part in the review were Lanarkshire CIC patients, GPs, health professionals, patient representatives from the CIC, members of the public and Public Partnership Forum (PPF) representatives.
The review also involved an examination of literature on the health benefits of homoeopathic remedies, undertaken by the chair of the review group and NHS Lanarkshire’s director of public health medicine, Dr Harpreet Kohli.
Presenting his final report to the Lanarkshire NHS Board on Tuesday 9 December, Dr Kohli concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the continued use of the services – including homoeopathy – provided by the CIC.
This decision took account of new evidence in the form of a systematic review on homoeopathy published on 6 December.
Dr Kohli said: “The fact this process has taken place over a four year period involving such a wide range of groups and individuals, underlines how thorough we were in gathering as much evidence and opinion as possible.
“Our consultation exercise alone received around 6000 responses, almost 75 per cent of which came from outwith Lanarkshire.
“I looked at all this evidence and concluded, like many other studies, that the principles on which homoeopathy is based are scientifically implausible and there is insufficient evidence that homoeopathic remedies improve a patient’s clinical outcome.
“I accept that there will always be views from some patients expressing benefit from the service and I also recognise that the majority of those who responded to our consultation expressed a preference for continuing to use the CIC.
“However, there has been extensive investigation of the effectiveness of homoeopathy and there is no good-quality evidence that it is effective as a treatment for any health condition.
“There is also strong, clear and unambiguous evidence which shows that homoeopathy and other services provided by the CIC are lacking in terms of therapeutic benefit.”
From 1 April, patients with long term conditions will still be able to access a whole range of services which cover many of the conditions previously referred to the CIC.
The services available in Lanarkshire, and accessible through GP referral, include:
• Self-management groups and programmes
• Psychological therapies
• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
• Pain Management.
For a full copy of the papers presented at the Lanarkshire NHS Board on Tuesday 9 December, visit: http://www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk/boards/2014-board-papers/Pages/December.aspx