Costing Complimentary Medicine On The NHS

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more about “Truth behind NHS’s homeopathy budget“, posted with vodpod

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…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.

Related meniere’s posts

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Brain Patched

mummyI seem to be at the first marker of my recovery period following my ‘brain transplant’ shortly before Xmas. Most of the pain has now subsided save from the odd momentary stab, the stitching dissolved, and I’ve stopped spontaneously bleeding all over the house (never a good look).

Follow Up Not
I came away from a hospital bed with a worrying lack of advice as to how to tend my wounds and what possible signs I should look out for if anything was amiss. I should be due for a follow up appointment to come through soon so we’ll see if that materialises or whether ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is the policy that saves the NHS the most money.

The Good The Bad And The Ugly
It’s been a positive experience though like most things in life it happened at the most inconvenient time. So far the only side effects are that my moodiness increased for a while there (OK no change there) and that my taste buds and metabolism seem to have changed. I don’t get the kick out of some of the foods I used to and my house dust allergy has gone through the roof so most of the time I probably look like I’ve just been having a good cry with my large attractive red raw streaming eyes so I’ll probably need to pop the old piriton out of season again to stop me just permanently scratching my eyes out (and those of anyone else who happens to be passing). Maybe they’ve got nothing to do with the operation but I’m right off a good cuppa tea and that’s just not right.
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NHS Treatment In India?

Talks have taken place that may allow the NHS to approve medical treatments in India. Talks took place between Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and British authorities whose reaction toNHS proposals was described as ‘positive’.

Currently approval for NHS treatment undertaken outside of the UK can only consider approved treatment within 3 hours flying time whilst approval for certain treatments in India would stretch that to the required seven and a half hours to India.

Talks are only at the initial dialogue stage but the NHS is thought to be considering expansion of  treatment that could be approved for undertaking outside of the UK but funded by the NHS.

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NHS Food A Disgrace?

Twenty percent of UK NHS staff would be unhappy to eat the food served up to many of the thirteen million patients admitted into NHS hospitals every year.

Research shows that hospital food had been improving up to the great financial deficits of a year or so ago but cutbacks put in place to help reign in budget overspends would seem to have set back the quality and variety of food served up in hospitals.

5 Fruit and Veg hard to Find?
My own recent hospital stay would seem to justify these concerns. Certainly the five fruit and vegetable a day would be hard to achieve from my recent experience of stodge and high sugar deserts and drinks.

1 in 5 Staff Would Say No Thanks
The survey by consumer organisation Which? interviewed 250 doctors, nurses and other NHS staff and found that one in five would turn their nose up at the food served up to patients.

Some of the 3,000 cross section of patients interviewed described the food they had been served as ‘repulsive’ or ‘a disgrace’.
One in four of the patients interviewed said they went to the hospital’s own restaurant in search of a better standard of food or asked family members to bring food in for them.

I sampled the hospital restaurant for visitors and staff and was amazed to find a ‘greasy spoon’ style all day breakfast on offer that included black pudding, fried bread, chips, beans and fried egg. All amazingly unhealthy for a hospital.

An Aid To Recovery? 
The Which? survey found that 41% of patients were disappointed with hospital food and that only 32% believed that what they were given were what was needed to aid their recovery.

A Department of Health spokesperson said they recognised that more needed to be done.
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Now Where Was I?

I’m finally back in the land of the unliving following yesterday’s ‘will they-won’t they’ eventual release from my time in hospital. Thanks to those who left messages of support and who have continued to contribute to past and scheduled blog posts that went up whilst I was confined to a hospital bed.

It’s going to take a while to recover fully and I will have to arrange myself a slightly more horizontal friendly setup for future blog posting (hey, it’s cathartic and part of the recovery process) for a while but despite the surgery, the copious drugs regime, the pain killers (never thought I’d be happy to have a shot of morphine quite so much) ,the good but questionable dietary benefits of hospital food (“want some more cake?”) and the elderly woman on my ward with sudden onset dementia who kept repeatedly invading my room in a confused state thinking it was hers (not fun when you’re immobile and goes on all night) it’s been a positive experience (not least the NHS tea drinking schedule which for me mostly went like this – sleep-tea-sleep-tea – and repeat. No really, the first cuppa of the dayHospital was 6:30am with the last available at 10:30 pm).

My thanks to all who have supported me through this experience and especially the people who work long hours in the NHS.

Speak again soon. Best wishes to all.

Date With A Sharp Knife

I finally have some news re my impending NHS date with a selection of surgical knives, antibiotics, major surgery and if I’m really (un)lucky, MRSA. It could be next week or it might be the week after, I’m waiting to hear.mummy

I have to travel about 60 miles away which will be fun without a car and no idea of how long I’ll be in or when I get to leave again. This will only be my second time in hospital for anything remotely serious and last time it was closer to home but I still had to make my way home on the tube where I looked enough of a bloody wreck to experience whole tube carriages backing away from me when I clambered on board.Bandaging the majority of my head with blood stains down each side and blood red eyes (due to my eyelids being accidentally taped open by an open windows) did kind of make me look like some Egyptian Mummy come Zombie.

I can’t say I’m looking forward to the experience but I’ve got to believe that it’ll be for the greater good despite the risks, short term pain (lots of it) and temporary disablement.

So either way it looks like I’ll be offline for a bit soon. I have a handful of posts that will be timed to go up during the time I’m in hospital and maybe, if I’m compus mentis I’ll send the odd update from my phone to twitter (though I wouldn’t bank on that outside of “Yep that hurt” or “what’s my name?”).

Health Tourism Grows

Growing numbers of Brits are eschewing the free NHS to engage in health tourism abroad in low cost hospitals as waiting lists, superbug concerns and lack of access to NHS dentists (which are invariably not free) continue to cause health worries for many.

Around 70,000 are currently electing for health treatments abroad in India , Hungary ,Turkey Germany, Malaysia, Poland and Spain amongst other destinations.
Operations for hip replacements, heart surgery and cataract operations are some of the most in demand procedures. The health tourism numbers are expected to increase over the coming years.

The British Medical Association advises people to be careful when using treatment abroad, expressing concern at the dangers of flying too soon after surgery, which can cause complications.


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