Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

High Court rules to keep homeopathy off NHS prescriptions

"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", commented Margaret Wyllie, BHA Chair, arguing that the case "highlighted how health bosses were unfairly manipulating the consultation process and making decisions about healthcare services without genuine patient engagement".

It follows a similar incident in which more than 700,000 patient records went undelivered under the NHS Shared Business Services contract - a joint venture with Steria.

NHS England issued guidance in November past year that Global Positioning System should not prescribe "homeopathic treatments" as a new treatment for any patient. NHS England is now assessing nearly 2,000 cases to determine whether harm to patients has ensued due to the problem, and has thus far identified two cases where patient harm can not be ruled out, as judged by expert consultant review. So far two incidents have been indentified where an expert consultant review has concluded that patient harm can not be ruled out. In the other case, the patient is now deceased and NHS England is trying to find the family to inform them of the incident.

Hillier argued that it should not be hard to deliver basic administrative efficiency, and called the "systemic nature of this incident" a "big concern", lamenting that money has been spent "cleaning up the mess" rather than on patients.

Dr Vautrey said: 'Given the ongoing confusion and lack of effective communication, it is regrettable yet understandable that some practices may have, in good faith, sent misdirected correspondence on to PCSE.

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The High Court has backed NHS England's decision to stop funding homeopathic remedies - which had been costing £92,000 a year.

The PAC's findings come after NHS England said they would reclaim approximately £260,000 from GP practices that it claimed had not reviewed lost patient correspondence as directed.

NHS England had stated that a small proportion of Global Positioning System had been sending clinical correspondence and other material to Capita, instead of following guidance.

In its March 2018 evidence session, the PAC examined how NHS England had allowed another backlog of unprocessed clinical correspondence to accumulate. First uncovered in 2016, the issue affected areas including East Midlands, North of England, North East London and South West England.

But the documents were instead stored in a warehouse and unearthed in 2015.

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