Letter: Protest against the attack on homeopathy by NHS England

Camden New Journal

19 October, 2017

• NHS England is threatening to remove homeopathic and other complementary therapies and supplements from the list that doctors can prescribe.

Anyone can send their objections directly to them www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/items-routinely-prescribed/

Six million people in the UK, including the Queen, use homeopathy, and many more take supplements. To remove them from the NHS is a direct attack on our rights as patients to have the treatment of our choice, free at the point of use.

It also sets a very dangerous precedent that the NHS accepts the dictates of big pharma, which have tried to get homeopathy off the NHS for years, using a discredited study from 2005 (cherry-picking eight out of 110 clinical studies), and a rigged parliamentary committee.

If this goes through, arthritis sufferers would have to pay for their own condroitin supplement – £15 a month is impossible for many already facing community care charges, cuts to benefits, and high food bills. Omega 3, another supplement they want to ban, is widely used for many conditions.

Lutein is often recommended by doctors for macular degeneration, which affects millions of people. All these supplements are proven to be effective and the cost of prescribing them is negligible compared with much less useful and even harmful drugs and treatments.

Many studies and countless personal testimonies prove that homeopathy is effective and saves the NHS money. Yet NHS England has not been able to provide any study of the comparative costs of using homeopathy against treating the same patients with conventional medicine.

Without such a study, claims that it’s “a waste of money” are completely unfounded. It is widely used in countries like France and India because of its effectiveness and low cost.

A patient reported to the New Journal, that it had saved £500,000 of spending on her alone as she no longer had to be hospitalised for manic psychosis.

Scrapping homeopathy is contrary to the founding ethos and principles of the NHS. Unlike many pharmaceuticals, homeopathy does no harm, fully complying with the Hippocratic Oath.

This attack is not about health care or even saving the NHS money. It is about the power and profits of big pharma, one of the world’s most powerful global industries, tightening its grip on the NHS.

It is no accident that Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England spent a decade working for the US UnitedHealth Group, including as its Medicare CEO.

Everyone, regardless of income, should be entitled to have free access to holistic therapies.

As Nye Bevan said when the NHS was created in 1948: “…under the National Health Service Act homeopathic institutions will be enabled to provide their own form of treatment and that the continuity of the characteristics of those institutions will be maintained…”

Please urgently send your protest to NHS England (deadline this Saturday October 21), and your MP.

You can also sign a petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200154

SIGNATORIES:
ALL AFRICAN WOMEN’S GROUP, THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS, GLOBAL WOMEN’S STRIKE, PAYDAY MEN’S NETWORK, & VITAL FORCES BASED AT THE CROSSROADS WOMEN’S CENTRE & THE FOLLOWING VOLUNTEERS AND/OR USERS OF THE CENTRE OR OF EARTH HEALTH FOODS: ADAM KHALID, ADRIAN CRIMMIN, ALAN BETHELL, ALICE LANTERN, ANNA THOMPSON, ANX MCALISTER, CAMILLE BOODHEEMEAH, CAROLINE BROUARD, CHARLOTTE NOLAN, CHESTER F SMYTHE, CINTHIA WILLIAMS, DEBORAH NELSON, DIANE GABRYSIAK, ELSPETH DRAYTON, ERIC M, FURMORI ROSSANA, JACK RATTENBURY, JACQUELINE ACHEAMPONG, JACQUELINE SMIRL, JANIS PEARCE, JOHN YONNY, MAITE BELMONTE, HOMEOPATH, MARI CARDEW-RICHARDSON, MICHAEL COLEMAN, MICHAEL ROTHSTEIN, NAHUA BRINKLEY, NATASHA HARBUCK, NIKI ADAMS, R VERNEY, RACHEL GROVES, RACHEL LEWINS, RADHIKA SANCHEMENTE, REBECCA HODGSON, RITA PERAKIS, SARAH BROOK, SARAH STOLLERY, SELMA JAMES, SHODA RACKAL, SIAHINE VAN ROBAI, SINEAD CLANCY, SOLVEIG FRANCIS, SUE WILSON, SYLVIA LACH

http://camdennewjournal.com/article/protest-against-the-attack-on-homeopathy-by-nhs-england

Lori Nairne, Presente!

I’m addicted to reading obituaries, especially of people I knew or know about.

You find out important things about them that you could not imagine, and how people felt about them.

But you also find out about the times in which they, we, lived, and can look again at how it was for us during that time.

It’s quite different when the obit is about people you loved.  They always seem to leave out important things, no matter how detailed they are, and this inaccuracy can be terribly upsetting because the person is no longer around to correct it and thus this is a permanent record of a life that is no longer accessible to us.

I was one of those who helped write the obituary of Lori Nairne who died in San Francisco in August.  Here it is in the San Francisco Bay View.

Though I contributed to writing it even I feel an important aspect of Lori, much loved, respected and mourned is absent, and I will try to put it into words which evaded me when she died.

Lori’s fierce and principled hatred of Big Pharma grew out of and was sustained by 40 years of experience as a nurse.  But her clarity was enabled by the sixties movement which shaped her and enabled the break with the fifties and its McCarthyite witch-hunts; the repressive conformity of the cold war shaped our lives in the US in particular.  In order to rise up against that pervasive conformity, people seemed to need a complete refusal of anything that interfered with spontaneity.  The flower children were not organizers (though there was plenty of organizing going on with the anti-racist and anti-war movements.)

Lori loved the WFH Campaign she was immersed in.  And she was able, among many other initiatives, to help spearhead a movement which in 2014 made Chelsea Manning, trans woman whistleblower against the military, the Grand Marshall of San Francisco Pride.  We won with Lori leading the way.

To be organising year in year out, day by day was tough for many of her generation, and later generations up to today.  There was a deeply felt tension between all the detailed work of building an ongoing organisation and expressing the fury we feel for all the repression we have always had to endure.  But Lori thought it was well worth it and delighted in the high points of winning.

I’m sorry Lori will not be here as the new movements grow; as their power increases our self-discipline becomes lighter to bear and even less necessary, and the euphoria more frequent.