Save homeopathy on the NHS - help fund the judicial review - Part 2

by Cristal Sumner

Save homeopathy on the NHS - help fund the judicial review - Part 2

by Cristal Sumner
Cristal Sumner
Case owner
I am the CEO of the national charity, the British Homeopathic Association. We want to protect the public's right to access homeopathy and other natural health options within the NHS.
Funded
on 28th April 2018
£20,210
pledged by 237 people
Cristal Sumner
Case owner
I am the CEO of the national charity, the British Homeopathic Association. We want to protect the public's right to access homeopathy and other natural health options within the NHS.

Latest: June 5, 2018

Judgement on BHA’s Judicial Review of NHS England 2017 consultation

On behalf  of the British Homeopathic Association, I want to say thank you again for your generosity and support of our judicial review challenge of NHS England.  Today the Honourable M...

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We are launching a second part of our campaign to help fund the legal fees associated with our judicial review hearing which has been set for 1 May. 

Your support will help make NHS England more accountable, defend patient choice and, more importantly, ensure patients have appropriate input on their access to cost-effective healthcare they use and need  in this case HOMEOPATHY!

We want to raise over £10,000 to cover part of the legal fees for our hearing. We previously raised over £18,000 pounds toward our legal fees to get the judicial review application submitted to court providing substantial grounds for NHS England to answer to.

The background to our case:
The NHS England Consultation on 'Items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care’  included a proposal for future statutory guidance that homeopathy, in any form and in respect of any care pathway and whether in conjunction with traditional pharmaceutical medicines or otherwise, should not be prescribed to existing or new patients within the NHS. This consultation closed in October 2017 with recommendations issued by NHS England on 30 November 2017 to stop funding homeopathic prescriptions.

We understand that expenditure needs to be reviewed, but any review must be done lawfully upon proper consideration of the position.

That is why we submitted an application for judicial review in October 2017 prior to the consultation ending on the basis that the consultation was fundamentally flawed from the outset in that the proposal was not formulated with input from any homeopathy experts or practitioners; it was not a genuine attempt to engage consultees (a decision having been ostensibly predetermined) and did not provide consultees with adequate information on which to provide a considered and informed response. We are also challenging NHS England’s decision to go ahead with the proposals and publish national guidance that homeopathic medicines should no longer be routinely prescribed by GPs. We are concerned that NHS England has failed to consider the effect of its decision on those patients with protected characteristics, in breach of the Public Sector Equality Duty.  The judicial review seeks, among other things, a declaration that NHS England has acted unlawfully in relation to its proposals and subsequent decision, on the basis of its failure to consult on them properly and to listen to patients!  

If successful, NHS England would have to re-consult and we hope we can protect the right of patients to choose to be treated with homeopathy on the NHS and the right of the public to properly be able to input upon the services that their National Health Service provides. People treated with homeopathy on the NHS have found it to be beneficial to their health, quite often after they’ve failed to respond to conventional treatments  or where conventional treatments do not exist; to alleviate the side effects of conventional treatments and/or in place of antibiotics and other medicines which the NHS wishes to reduce the use of.

With NHS England issuing these recommendations in November 2017, the BHA understands from GPs that CCGs have stopped them from prescribing homeopathic medicines which is having an effect on patients.  Often chronically ill and on small fixed incomes, these patients are now compelled either to pay for homeopathic services or to use alternative and often more costly NHS services/medicines.

A parliamentary petition to stop NHS England from removing herbal and homeopathic medicines received 34,670 signatures from across all of the UK, which demonstrates that this is an important issue across the nation.

We have been granted a 'rolled up' hearing where the grounds for permission to bring the judicial review and the case will be heard at one time.  This will be May 1-3, 2018 in the Administrative Court at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.  We have engaged solicitors Bates Wells Braithwaite, led by Emma Dowden-Teale, recognised for their expertise in judicial review and a highly regarded QC, Richard Clayton QC, who has an outstanding track record in cases involving public policy.

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Update 2

Cristal Sumner

June 5, 2018

Judgement on BHA’s Judicial Review of NHS England 2017 consultation

On behalf  of the British Homeopathic Association, I want to say thank you again for your generosity and support of our judicial review challenge of NHS England.  Today the Honourable Mr Justice Supperstone handed down his judgement, and  it is with profound disappointment that I must share that the British Homeopathic Association has failed in its challenge to get NHS England's decision to stop funding homeopathic medicines overturned.

As you are aware the case was heard by the Honourable Mr Justice Supperstone at the Royal Courts of Justice on 1-4 May. The charity’s main claims against NHS England were that the consultation misrepresented homeopathy and therefore was unfair; and a report used in the consultation to inform the public was so complicated it would deter rather than encourage people to respond. We knew we were in a David vs. Goliath situation, and that in the end it would come down to one judge’s interpretation of the case. Although the judge found there were sufficient grounds for a judicial review, after four days of lengthy legal arguments he dismissed the claims against NHS England.

The case highlighted for us how health bosses unfairly manipulating the consultation process and making decisions about healthcare services without genuine patient engagement. That NHS England attracted fewer than 3,000 responses from patients to a three-month national consultation, on 18 medicines, highlights its failure to genuinely engage with the public on important decisions about healthcare provision.  In contrast we had over 34,000 people sign our parliamentary petition to keep services in the NHS.

Although 18 medicines were under review the only negative statement in NHS England’s press release promoting its public consultation was about homeopathy. The statement was so prejudicial it was widely reported in the media that the decision to deny patients homeopathic medicines had already been taken. How the judge failed to recognise that this was a deliberate attempt by NHS England to unfairly influence the public is astonishing.

The only information about homeopathy that NHS England provided was an outdated report that was critical of the therapy. And although it did contain the case for homeopathy as put by scientists, doctors and patients, it is preposterous to think the public were going to read a complex report of over 275 pages to help inform their response to the consultation.  

It appears that NHS England can fail to engage with patients properly on removing services and get away with it. That is not good enough, for it is important to remember that the real losers in this case are the patients who are now being refused a treatment on which they have come to depend.  

Despite this disappointment, the we remain committed to defending homeopathic services.  We will continue to champion homeopathy’s health benefits, cost effectiveness and the right of patients to choose the therapy when it is appropriate for their condition.

Our charitable aims remain unchanged: to enable greater access to homeopathy through providing financial support for research, training of healthcare professionals, providing factual and useful information about homeopathy to the public, and expanding the BHA’s network of charitable and low cost clinics throughout the UK. Growing numbers of people are seeking a more holistic approach to their healthcare and the BHA is working to enable them to do so.

Thank you again for your support and to learn more about our activities please visit our website www.britishhomeopathic.org

 

 

 

Update 1

Cristal Sumner

May 4, 2018

Our case has been heard on 1-4 May and now we await judgement

Thank you to all of you that have helped to raise over £13K to date to help fund the hearing that closes today.  We have also received donations directly at the BHA so that fund is nearing over £15k.  Really fantastic!!


As way of update our QC Richard Clayton and legal team have been working hard to make our formidable arguments around our grounds for the judicial review. Considerable time over the past four days have been given to what we feel is the misuse of the 2010 report in the consultation, the consultation not being accessible or enabling participation, lack of proper Equalities Impact Assessment, and predetermination of the consultation.


A strong case has been made to Rt Hon Mr Justice Supperstone and we are awaiting his judgement which most probably will take some time to be issued.  We are told it could be weeks/months.


We are pleased to have finally had our day (or days as it is in this case!) in court and we feel very positive about our chances.  I will make sure to keep you updated as things unfold.


As mentioned earlier, the cost of four days in court, is significant.  Can you please help by sharing this link with others.  We are a small charity and any support that can be given toward our stretch goal of £20,000 is most gratefully received and how wonderful to our cause to see hundreds of people stand behind our challenge.


Power to the people and all those who want choice and proper input to our health system!


Thank you again for being interested in our legal challenge!


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