The British Homeopathic Association have just lost their Judicial Review against the decision by NHS England on their consultation on homeopathy.
The written ruling is here
NHS England statement:NHS England welcomes homeopathy court ruling
NHS chief Simon Stevens has today welcomed the High Court’s decisive rejection of a legal challenge by the British Homeopathic Association to overturn plans to no longer routinely fund homeopathy on the NHS.
As part of action to clamp down on waste, over the last two years NHS England has taken action to curb prescriptions for medicines that can be bought over the counter or are of low value.
At the end of last year NHS England published guidance to curb prescriptions for 18 ineffective, unsafe or low clinical priority treatments, such as co-proxamol, some dietary supplements, herbal treatments and homeopathy, saving up to £141 million a year. Earlier this year NHS England published a further list of 35 minor, short-term conditions for which over the counter medicines should not routinely be prescribed, saving around a further £100 million a year.
Savings form a key building block of the NHS’s 10 point efficiency plan contained in the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View, published in March 2017.
NHS chief, Simon Stevens said: “There is no robust evidence to support homeopathy which is at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds.
“So we strongly welcome the High Court’s clear cut decision to kick out this costly and spurious legal challenge.”
Guidance on items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care is available on the NHS England website.
The BHA's statement: BHA’s brave legal bid to overturn NHS decision on homeopathy fails
The British Homeopathic Association (BHA) has failed in its legal challenge to get NHS England’s decision to stop funding homeopathic medicines overturned.
Last year, NHS England recommended doctors should no longer prescribe a number of treatments, including homeopathy, that it said provided little value. The BHA believed it had identified serious flaws in the way the health commissioning authority consulted the public on this issue and sought a judicial review.
The case was heard by the Honourable Mr Justice Supperstone at the Royal Courts of Justice. The charity’s main claims against NHS England were that the consultation misrepresented homeopathy and therefore was unfair; and a report used in the consultation to inform the public was so complicated it would deter rather than encourage people to respond. Although the judge found there were sufficient grounds for a judicial review, after four days of lengthy legal arguments he dismissed the claims.
Margaret Wyllie, BHA Chair, said the case highlighted how health bosses were unfairly manipulating the consultation process and making decisions about healthcare services without genuine patient engagement.
“That NHS England attracted fewer than 3,000 responses from patients to a national consultation that ran for three months highlights its failure to genuinely engage with the public on important decisions about healthcare provision.”
Although 18 medicines were under review the only negative statement in NHS England’s press release promoting its public consultation was about homeopathy.
“The statement was so prejudicial it was widely reported in the media that the decision to deny patients homeopathic medicines had already been taken. How the judge failed to recognise that this was a deliberate attempt by NHS England to unfairly influence the public is astonishing,” said Mrs Wyllie.
“The only information about homeopathy that NHS England provided was an outdated report that was critical of the therapy. And although it did contain the case for homeopathy as put by scientists, doctors and patients, it is preposterous to think the public were going to read a complex report of over 275 pages to help inform their response to the consultation.”
She added: “It appears NHS England can fail to engage with patients properly on removing services and get away with it. That is not good enough, for it is important to remember that the real losers in this case are the patients who are now being refused a treatment on which they have come to depend.”
Despite this disappointment, the BHA remains committed to defending homeopathic services. We will continue to champion homeopathy’s health benefits, cost effectiveness and the right of patients to choose homeopathy for their healthcare needs.
Our charitable aims remain unchanged: to enable greater access to homeopathy through providing financial support for research, training of healthcare professionals, providing factual and useful information about homeopathy to the public, and expanding the BHA’s network of charitable and low cost clinics throughout the UK. Growing numbers of people are seeking a more holistic approach to their healthcare and the BHA is working to enable them to do so.
"Brave". Some would say "foolhardy".