NHS Wirral CCG ends funding for homeopathy

3736069_1426544235.2609_funddescriptionThe Good Thinking Society welcomed today’s decision by NHS Wirral CCG to decommission homeopathy and Iscador services. The decision comes after months of consultation which showed overwhelming support from the public for an end to funding.

Last week, a report on the consultation concluded that 95% of respondents wanted to stop homeopathy funding immediately, with just 3.7% of respondents favouring a continuation of the service. The report also found that 20 out of 22 NHS Wirral GPs wanted the service to be terminated, citing its ineffectiveness and the lack of evidence that homeopathy has had any long-term benefits for any patient.

The termination of funding for homeopathy sees NHS Wirral follow the lead of NHS Liverpool, who closed their homeopathy service in June 2016 after a legal challenge by the Good Thinking Society. NHS Wirral was the last CCG in the north of England to fund homeopathy, with the NHS support for the service now restricted to a small number of CCGs in the Bristol and London regions, and a number of health bodies in Scotland.

Michael Marshall, Merseyside resident and Project Director of the Good Thinking Society, said: “We wholeheartedly support the decision by NHS Wirral CCG to cease funding for homeopathy. It is hugely encouraging to see the CCG make a clear statement that homeopathy has no place on the NHS.

“The evidence is unequivocal in showing that homeopathic treatments are no more effective than placebo, and the public consultation shows that the people of the Wirral want to follow the evidence, and preserve limited NHS funds for treatments that are shown to actually work.

“We feel that in taking into account the ineffectiveness of homeopathy, as well as the view of the respondents to the survey, the CCG has made the right choice today.

“With the end to homeopathy funding in Wirral, the CCG joins the overwhelming majority of health bodies in the country in recognising that homeopathy is not a valid use of limited NHS resources. The basic expectation of patients is that the treatments they are offered on the NHS actually work. Homeopathy has clearly failed to meet this expectation.”


Notes for editors

  • Good Thinking Society – the Good Thinking Society is a registered charity set up by science writer Simon Singh to encourage curiosity and promote rational thinking. https://goodthinkingsociety.org/
  • Homeopathy – homeopathy is a 200-year-old system of alternative medicine which relies on the notion that diluting a remedy increases the strength of the remedy, with the most powerful remedies diluted until they contain no active ingredient. It has been widely tested and the best evidence has consistently shown homeopathy to be ineffective. Despite this, the NHS currently spends an estimated £4m per year on homeopathy.
  • Iscador – Iscador is a mistletoe-based herbal therapy believed by some proponents to be able to manage side effects related to chemotherapy, and believe by other proponents to have direct ‘anti-cancer’ properties. Despite what many people believe, Iscador is not a homeopathic treatment, and there is no good evidence that Iscador is effective for any condition.
  • The work of Good Thinking is largely funded by its founder Simon Singh, but it also relies on donations from its supporters and the general public via its Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/Good-Thinking

For more information, contact Michael Marshall, Project Director of the Good Thinking Society: