Aug 2008: NHS celebrate 60 years of homeopathy

Home > News > News archives > Aug 2008: NHS celebrate 60 years of homeopathy

August 2008

Celebrating 60 years of homeopathy on the NHS

The Society of Homeopaths supports the provision of homeopathy on the National Health Service which has been available since its creation on July 5 1948.

And The Society welcomes the latest Government review of the NHS which sets out a future with more patient choice, more community-led services and patients at the centre of their own treatment – exactly what the Society’s registered members are already offering.

Lord Darzi’s review, ‘High Quality Care for All’, has been carried out in consultation with patients and a wide range of health workers in the NHS, coming up with an exciting vision for the future of healthcare which includes understanding success rates from the patient’s perspective.

Patient-reported outcomes measures will be used, similar to those often used in clinical research into homeopathic treatment. The NHS, for the first time, will also be including wellbeing and the ability to live independent lives as measures.

Chair Jayne Thomas said: “These are measures that are key in assessing the progress of homeopathic treatment and we are delighted that the NHS has taken this on board as one of the indicator’s of treatment success.”

Homeopathy was included in the original vision for the NHS by its founder, the then Minister for Health Aneurin Bevan. He promised that: “homeopathic institutions will be enabled to provide their own form of treatment and that the continuity of the characteristics of those institutions will be maintained”.

The five homeopathic hospitals – in London, Glasgow, Bristol, Liverpool and Tunbridge Wells – were well established at that time, homeopathy having been available in the UK since the mid 1800s.

Beginning as a medicine for the elite (including the Royal family who still use homeopathy to this day), it was the turn of the century before it was more widely accessible. At the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital most patients 100 years ago were manual workers including lacquerers, fancy box makers, ostrich feather workers, fancy stationers, and other long-vanished occupations. At that time phthisis and consumption (both forms of TB), bronchitis, rheumatism, gastric ulcer and female health problems were among the most common diagnoses.

The NHS was born out of a long-held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth, and that is something the Society of Homeopaths strongly believes in.

While the majority of The Society’s registered members do not work at the homeopathic hospitals, there are a number of NHS-funded clinics throughout the UK which offer “free” homeopathic treatment, and the Society would like to see these increase in numbers so that homeopathy is more widely available to anyone who might benefit.

For further details, please contact Pamela Stevens, Communications Department on 0845 450 6611.