Letter to Islington PCT and reply
Dr Rachel Tyndall
Islington Primary Care Trust
338-346 Goswell Road
London EC1V 7LQ
24th January 2007
Dear Dr Tyndall,
Islington PCT’s contract with the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital
I am writing to you to express my deep concern at the news that Islington PCT intends to cancel its contract with the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital which will lead to services being withdrawn from patients living in the borough.
A number of our members attend the Chronic Fatigue clinic at the hospital and we have received very positive feedback about this service. A survey we conducted last year amongst our membership produced strongly supportive statements about the treatment that people had received at the RLHH.
Many of the specific treatments offered by the RLHH (eg homeopathy, autogenic training, herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, acupuncture) are not otherwise available on the NHS to people with ME/CFS. We consider it vital that government policy of offering choice within NHS services is implemented and that these services are freely available. This is of particular importance to people with ME/CFS since the only other NHS services available to them are illness management programmes which, even the providers admit, only help a proportion of people with this illness (generally those mildly or moderately affected with a limited range of symptoms). Should the Chronic Fatigue service at the RLHH be withdrawn or limited I am extremely concerned that a large proportion of people with ME/CFS will be left with no appropriate NHS services available to them at all.
The majority of people with ME/CFS are unable to work because of their illness and exist on a meagre income of benefits. It is very unlikely that these people would be able to fund the cost of treatment themselves.
I hope you will reconsider your intention to cancel your contract with the hospital.
Hazel Griffiths (Chair, North London ME Network)
Ms H Griffiths,
Chair, North London ME Network
29th January 2007
Dear Ms Griffiths
Re: Royal London Homeopathic Hospital
I am writing in response to your letter of the 24th January about Islington PCTs commissioning intentions with regard to the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.
As a PCT we take our commissioning role very seriously, regularly reviewing the range of services that we commission for Islington residents.
In discussions with the RLHH the PCT has indicated that from 2007/08, in common with many other PCTs, we wish to change the basis of the way that Islington GPs can make referrals to the services at the Homeopathic Hospital. We recognise that a differentiation needs to be made between new referrals made to the RLHH from now onwards, and long-term patients who are already receiving ongoing treatment at the Homeopathic Hospital.
In common with many other specialist services from April 2007 we will be introducing a PCT screening and approval process for all new referrals for homeopathy at the RLHH.
The situation is more complex and sensitive for the group of patients receiving long-term care at RLHH. There is no intention to automatically cease funding on 1 April 2007. During the spring, we will be working with clinicians at the trust and Islington GPs to review on a case-by-case basis the patients who have been receiving long-term care at the RLHH.
I do hope that this provides some assurance and clarity bout our position and how we intend to take things forward. If you do have further questions, please contact Anna Stewart, Assistant Director, Acute Commissioning, email@example.com or phone 020 7527 1276.