For over a year, Good Thinking has been tracking and challenging spending for homeopathy on the NHS (you can still support our work via our charity appeal). As part of our research identifying where in the country homeopathy was available on the NHS, we discovered that only 31 out of the 211 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England provided a homeopathy service, the majority of which were based around existing or old homeopathic hospitals – with the exception of the four Newcastle-region CCGs.
Our research revealed that in 2013/14, homeopathy was funded by NHS Gateshead CCG, NHS Newcastle North and East CCG, NHS Newcastle West CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG. However, rather interestingly the total spend for this cluster of groups stood at a combined £231.39 for the whole year – with NHS Newcastle North and East CCG spending just £3.27 in all of 2013.
Clearly, demand for homeopathy and belief in its use on the NHS was not high in the area, which is why it’s unsurpring that it was confirmed to Good Thinking via a Freedom of Information request that these CCGs no longer fund homeopathy – neither as a commissioned service, nor as a result of any successful Individual Funding Reviews. Good Thinking welcomes this move as a clear and sensible decision to focus NHS funds and time to more worthwhile interventions.
Although the total amount of homeopathy on offer in the four CCGs (which have subsequently merged into just two CCGs: NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG) was very low, its symbolic value cannot be underestimated. Whereas previously it could be said that homeopathy was funded by the NHS in the Newcastle region, now it cannot.
Furthermore, of the 31 CCGs to commission homeopathy in 2013, these four represented 13% – with their decision to cease funding, plus the recent decisions from other CCGs, only 24 CCGs still fund homeopathy, of which 4 are currently reviewing their policies.
With finite NHS resources available, we urge the remaining CCGs to follow the lead of their colleagues around the country and end their funding for homeopathic remedies.