Concerns Regarding NHS Lanarkshire's Decision to Cease Referrals to the Centre of Integrative Care (Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital)

Written by a Patient
The NHS Health Board Meeting on 9th December 2014, was held to give the reasons for their decision to no longer refer patients. 
There were a number of concerns about how the information was presented at the meeting to the Health Board members, who then voted nine in favour of ceasing referrals, three in favour of continuing referrals to the many services at the hospital, (who raised very pertinent issues and concerns that were disregarded by the majority), as well as 1 abstention.

NHS Lanarkshire have caused concern throughout their flawed Consultation:

  • Due to refusing to write to the patients who attend the hospital to inform them about the Consultation in order that they can take part and the poor advertising of the Consultation, which extended its closure date.
  • Calling it a 'Homoeopathic Review' when actually the Consultation question was entirely different - 'Should NHS Lanarkshire refer patients to the Centre for Integrative Care (Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital)?'  This is a totally different question than implied on the front page and poster relating to the Consultation.  It also shows that the Board did not fully understand the integrative care model at the hospital that has a wide number of services available and not all patients attending the hospital receive homoeopathy.
  • During their September Board meeting, NHS Lanarkshire broke into private session to discuss the Consultation report, which is not usual, on what was supposed to be a transparent public Consultation. This raises the question - what exactly was discussed at this closed meeting?
  • Why did NHS Lanarkshire go to the trouble and costs of holding the public Consultation if they were then going to decide to totally disregard the public views, when the overwhelming  result was to continue to allow referrals?  Why were NHS funds spent on a public Consultation when they were never going to adhere to the result of public opinion anyway?!
  • What message does this send out to other health professionals working elsewhere in the NHS when this award-winning hospital has received several 100% patient satisfaction ratings, meeting all its patient objectives and outcomes expected of this tertiary service, and delivering cost-effective care to a cohort of patients that have complex conditions who have generally exhausted all other means of conventional NHS care before their referrals?  Yet their services are being cut and patients denied access.
This decision by NHS Lanarkshire to cease referrals seriously puts at risk the whole future of the NHS Centre of Integrative Care for all patients throughout Scotland who rely on the many services that are available at the hospital, as it was reported in The Herald that a spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "We are reliant on the ongoing commitment from other NHS Boards to make use of the inpatient services to maintain their viability."  
We know that Robert Calderwood the Chief Executive of Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board has also stated publicly for several years that should another Health Board around Scotland decide to cease referrals to the hospital, then it's survival would be put in jeopardy. This is now an urgent and very concerning situation and requires political support and pressure.
We do hope that national funding may be found to secure this hospital's future to continue to make the hospital services available for all patients in Scotland, which will put an end to the postcode lottery, allow portability of care and equality of access to this national centre of excellence that is providing gold standard care for patients, and which is individualised, person-centred, holistic and integrative and the best care available for those with complex, long-term, chronic conditions.
The patient's voice is rarely heard here, nor the facts that are truly representative and mean the most to the patients who are affected.
We do hope that the hospital's future can be secured for the many thousands of Scottish patients who depend on its many and varied services, not readily available elsewhere n the NHS.