Homeopathic Prescriptions - The True Picture
There are 400 medical GPs who are regulated by the GMC and are members of the Faculty of Homeopathy, providing an essential service for around 200,000 NHS patients; the homeopathic hospitals provide 55,000 appointments per year. This situation has not perceptibly changed over the last 2-3 years. The reasons for the steady fall in homeopathic prescriptions in primary care over the last two years may be affected by the following factors:
* Although balanced by increased patient numbers, the proportion of prescriptions actually written by a GP is not representative of the whole; other health professionals such as nurses and pharmacists have prescribing rights.
* The cost of buying a homeopathic medicine over the counter is often less than for a NHS prescription (prescription ?7.10, homeopathic medicine typically less than ?5.00). Increasingly, prescribers are recommending their patient buys the remedy over the counter, saving the patient money.
* Only a tiny proportion of the 3,500 plus homeopathic medicines available are listed in the computer software for GPs, and so most homeopathic prescriptions are handwritten. It is not clear whether these are entered into the data.
Referrals to NHS homeopathic services remain steady and over the counter sales are increasing; there is clearly no decline in the popularity of homeopathy, so factors such as those above, must be responsible.