If only four per cent of GPs were to offer homeopathy as a major frontline approach to treatment, this would result in an annual saving for the NHS of 190 million pounds. *
Just 4%! Those are the results from a staggering independent report commissioned by Prince Charles in 2005, and carried out by leading economist Christopher Smallwood.
In the pilot study where patients were cared for with various alternative and complementary approaches including homeopathy, there was a 30% reduction in GP consultations and a 50% saving in prescription drugs bills *.
Clinical studies back up this conclusion. Notable are:
- A study published in 2005, commissioned by a German health insurance company. It concludes that patients suffering from commonly seen chronic conditions who were cared for homeopathically had better outcomes than those treated conventionally, for similar costs *. The conditions were allergic rhinitis, asthma and atopic dermatitis in children, and back pain, depression, headache, insomnia and sinusitis in adults.
- A French study involving 499 children aged between 18 months and 4 years. This found homeopathy to be both more therapeutically useful and more cost effective (88 euros v.99 euros) than antibiotics in children with recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. There was also significantly less sick-leave taken by the parents of those prescribed for homeopathically (9.5% compared with 31.6%). This of course brings a further, economic advantage *.
- The RCT study already mentioned, (see Randomised Controlled Trials), published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 1997. It concluded that homeopathy should be the first line therapy for acute otitis media in children. The savings to the NHS are palpable as only 5 of the 103 children cared for homeopathically needed antibiotics *.
This evidence supports Smallwood’s findings, whose conclusions identify the implications of homeopathic prescribing for the NHS drugs bill. Clearly serious costs are at stake. So let’s hope funding will be found for further research to confirm these findings in greater numbers.