‘NHS will ruin lives by scrapping homeopathy’

Patricia Nelson says the NHS is making a mistake
Patricia Nelson says the NHS is making a mistake
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A SCIENTIST who claims to have been cured by homeopathy has said that lives will be ruined by the decision to axe the service on the NHS.

NHS Lothian last month decided to scrap the controversial clinics, which had cost £240,000 per year despite studies generally finding homeopathy offers no more than a placebo effect to patients.

The health board won praise for the move among campaigners who have argued that public cash should not be used to fund homeopathy, which sees substances heavily diluted in water to the point that there is often very little or none of the ingredient remaining by the time it is given to the patient.

But Patricia Nelson, who worked for NHS Lothian for a decade as a clinical scientist at Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, says homeopathy paid for by the health board has cured her twice in the last decade and said she was devastated that others would now no longer be able to benefit.

Ms Nelson, 45, said that homeopathic powders had helped restore an underactive thyroid to its normal function and that following a car accident, which left her in so much pain that she was unable to sleep lying down, homeopathy had produced near-miraculous results.

She said: “I had Hashimoto’s disease – an underactive thyroid – there were lots of symptoms. I didn’t feel well and had loss of hair and joint pain. It got worse over two or three years and I was referred to the homeopathy clinic in Dalkeith. Within three months the results were almost back to normal, and within six months they were normal. It has remained normal for the last seven years.”

More recently, the mum-of-two, who has a PhD in clinical science, began experiencing severe back pain and near-total loss of feeling in her hands following a car accident. She said that within days of the second homeopathy treatment, in January, she had been able to sleep in her bed for the first time in 18 months.

She added: “Physio did help with the pain but didn’t bring me anywhere near back to normal. By the time I had homeopathy, I had been suffering for a year and a half. By the second dose the results were really dramatic.

“Homeopathy has had a tremendous impact on my quality of life. Suggesting it’s a placebo is complete nonsense. NHS Lothian will spoil other peoples’ lives and I know most of the patients were very happy with the service.”

Keir Liddle, president of Edinburgh Skeptics, suggested that Ms Nelson had been “fooling herself”. He added: “There is no plausible mechanism to support the efficacy of homeopathy.”

Professor Alex McMahon, Director of Strategic Planning, Performance Reporting and Information at NHS Lothian, said that a consultation process had shown the majority were against continued 
funding of homeopathy.

He said: “We have listened to the views of the majority of respondents who cited lack of evidence for homeopathy and supported investing the funds currently spent on this service into other proven healthcare services.”