Winter 2017/18 issue
Cristal Sumner, BHA Chief Executive
Cristal Sumner, BHA Chief Executive

Here’s to 2018 going homeopathy’s way. We’re all working together towards that aim—and that feels positive, good and real! We need all the collective power we can muster to cultivate those green shoots of opportunity in homeopathy and defend our patch.

It only seems a short time ago that I was writing about our fight to have voices heard in the NHS England consultation, which we felt was so flawed in respect of homeopathy that it needed its plug pulled.

Much has happened since my last editorial. NHS England quickly made a decision at their meeting on 30 November to stop routine prescribing of homeopathy in primary care, following initial recommendations made in their consultation document. The documents presented to their Board in relation to homeopathy raised further concerns about the consultation and decision-making process, and there was very little meaningful discussion of them by the Board at the meeting.

As a result, we put forward additional evidence in our request for a judicial review of their consultation in relation to homeopathy. Our amended grounds for the judicial review were lodged in mid-January. A month earlier, the court informed us that we have been granted a “rolled up” hearing at the beginning of May. At this hearing, the judge will evaluate the grounds we have put forward and if any have merit, the judicial review will go ahead.

Some people have asked why the BHA is pursuing a judicial review. First off, a significant amount of our funding comes from legacies from individuals who benefited from homeopathy and wanted to see homeopathy thrive and remain on the NHS. We feel that these individuals would have expected the BHA to fight, if needed, to keep homeopathic services on the NHS.

Secondly, we’re not alone in pursuing a redress of what we feel is an unlawful consultation process. The Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine are significantly involved as an interested party, as is the Faculty of Homeopathy. In fact, the whole sector has come together to promote and help fund the work the BHA is undertaking. We all feel we would be doing an incredible disservice to homeopathy if we did not try to correct this wrong and prevent the eventual removal of homeopathy from the NHS.

To have homeopathy integrated in the NHS means all of us can choose to receive homeopathic care when we are ill. If the NHS removes homeopathy from the health service our detractors will use this as proof that at best it is nothing more than placebo, contrary to the evidence of homeopathy’s clinical effectiveness.

Much work needs to be done between now and May. You can help by making decision-makers aware that this is a LIVE issue by signing the parliamentary petition by 13 March (which currently has more than 26,000 signatures), writing to your MP, or donating to our CrowdJustice webpage (or you can send in a cheque to our address) to help support the costs of our highly qualified and experienced legal team. You’ll find all the details on our website (www.britishhomeopathic.org) or you can call us on 020 3640 5903 to discuss how you can help us.

It seems we are constantly swamped with consultations that require a response. Sadly the start of this year did not buck the trend. At the end of January a new consultation was launched by NHS Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) regarding homeopathic services. The BHA will be responding forcefully to the consultation, and if you live in the Bristol, Bath or Somerset areas you too should let them know that any consultation should await the final outcome of the judicial review application against NHS England by the BHA. Details of the consultation can be found on our website.

It’s interesting how such a helpful medicine, which costs so little compared to conventional prescription drugs, ignites such controversy and knee-jerk negativity within certain circles. We know it works, and if you would like to have your say, why not take two minutes to video yourself on your mobile phone explaining why you use, and stay healthy with, homeopathy. Once you’ve recorded your little feature, share it on social media with the BHA, or contact us for recommended hashtags you can use to ensure the video gets noticed.

Word of mouth and personal experience move people. That’s why homeopathy remains popular, and why there has been a constant demand for over 200 years. We have a very solid foundation of use and experience that will keep it going until the mechanism of action is figured out. Until then, I thank you on behalf of the BHA for your continued support and participation in making sure homeopathy stays healthy and resilient in the face of adversity.