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The data we have shows that from 2005 – 2008 almost £12m was spent on Homeopathic remedies by the NHS.
This works out at an average cost of £170 per episode, per patient with a remarkable £3067 cost per inpatient.
Interesting piece about homeopathy costings here when offered via Britain’s NHS. In the early stages of my meniere’s, in fact before it was correctly diagnosed, I was actually sent to the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.I had an open mind.
Therein I was in the waiting area for 2 hours (this was the early 90’s and the place didn’t seem particularly busy in the way a hospital often seems to be). Once I was in the consultation room it was decided that I was to receive accupuncture for my tinnitus and then emerging dizzy spells.
This took the form of burning needles placed along the upper part of my bare feet(yeah like I’d keep my shoes on but thought I’d better clarify). It was painless. But was it..er…pointless? (sorry weak pun alert).
Peace And Love
I was warned that (in a Ringo Starr ‘warning you with peace and love’ kind of way) that once the accupuncture had been completed there was a danger that I would experience a “rush of euphoria” at some point over the next hour and a half whilst travelling home so I should “just be careful”.
I was a model of caution on my journey home by tube and train and made sure as much as possible I didn’t stand too close to pregnant women, small children or those of a particular infirmity in case I was to literally explode with energised joy whilst in a confined space and perhaps might cause inadvertent injury or distress to those unwittingly close by.
I’m sorry to report that nothing euphoric transpired during those 90 minutes or indeed during the weeks following.
I hadn’t asked for a homeopathy referral but my GP must have taken this alternative approach seriously. Perhaps there was evidence that the power of the placebo effect for some outweighed the cost of bouncing around the NHS referral system until an adequate specialist hit the nail on the head. Perhaps I was classified as an hysteric for badgering my GP over things that seemed awry with my hearing and balance? Who knows?
In the end some months later I attended a specialist ear nose and throat clinic in London whereupon after a cat scan, a poke in the eye with a lengthen piece of cotton wool and the pouring of hot water into one of my ears (yes now doesn’t that sound like quakery when I actually write it down?) I was diagnosed with meniere’s.
Playing The Lottery
These days the NHS is a postcode lottery and heading again for a huge funding shortfall so no doubt many less proven complimentary services such as homeopathy and even, dare I say NHS funded counselling (the evidence for the latter’s effectiveness to cost ratio is not clear cut by any means) will no doubt face some tough reassessment within various PCT budgets.