Reviewing homeopathy services

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs are reviewing all NHS funded homeopathic or alternative therapies in the area.

Currently access to homeopathy treatment for patients at the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine (PCIM) is subject to prior approval via an agreed set of criteria.

In 2010, The Science and Technology Select Committee concluded that the NHS should cease funding homeopathy, agreeing with the government that there is no evidence to show that homeopathy is clinically effective. That is, it does not work beyond the placebo effect.  

The committee recommended that placebos should not be routinely prescribed on the NHS; that the funding of homeopathic hospitals should not continue and that NHS doctors should not refer patients to homeopaths.

During the summer of 2017, we consulted on this proposal and we received nearly 2,500 responses from members of the public, users of homeopathic services, interest groups and providers. The vast majority were in favour of decommissioning the service.

In addition NHS England carried out a separate national consultation piece on medications, including homeopathic medications, which are of low/no clinical value or with no evidence base.

At the end of November 2017, NHS England announced recommendations that GPs should no longer prescribe homeopathic treatments or herbal remedies.

The aim of our proposal is to review the commissioning of homeopathy services and treatments and includes three options.

  • The homeopathy service should continue under the current policy where funding is granted if the patient meets the published criteria
  • The current policy should be amended to reduce access either by reducing the number of appointments routinely funded or by restricting the access criteria so the fewer patients will qualify for treatment
  • NHS funded homeopathy is only available in rare and exceptional circumstances and would need to be approved by the Individual Funding Request Panel (IFR)

Further details of the proposals are available in the proposals summary document.

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