MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Guest post by Kevin Smith

A family member of my household has been aghast to receive in the post yesterday a letter suggesting that, if they develop symptoms of coronavirus, they should take homeopathic remedies.

If this had been from some quack pharmacy doing a random mailshot, it would have been bad enough. But, astonishingly, it has come from the NHS! The letter is not on headed notepaper and is unsigned (it is in the format of a ‘factsheet’), thus is doesn’t contain the sender’s address; however, the envelope’s address label displays both my family member’s NHS number and the name of their GP practice. Moreover, the franking refers to a PO Box number that is owned by the NHS teaching hospital in our area. So it has certainly come from the NHS.

I believe that the family member who received it has been targeted because, in the past, a GP referral had been made for them to consult an NHS homeopath at this hospital.

Yes, very sadly, homeopaths have managed to exist within the NHS in the local area. I had assumed that, with the NHS recently cracking down on homeopathy, such quacks would have been excised – but this looks not to be the case, given the sending of this letter.

Here’s the text of the letter. Read it and see if you are as astonished – indeed as enraged – as I certainly am, and as is the family member to whom it was sent.

Guidance on Coronavirus (updated)

Prevention:

Daily probiotics, Regular handwashing, Stat dose of Covid-19 nosode 200c if it becomes available, Vit C & Zinc supplementation

Stress avoidance (Constitutional homeopathic prescribing & lifestyle)

Avoid incidental paracetamol use (ie no symptomatics for stress headaches etc)

Contact:

Add Ecchinacea, tincture 5 drops in water, twice daily, for no more than 4 consecutive days

Prodromal (ie before symptoms emerge):

Avoidance of incidental paracetamol use.

Stop work. Rest. Isolation. (+ Gelsemium 2 hourly, and/or Covid-19 nosode if it becomes available)

If you develop symptoms of Coronavirus: then avoid Paracetamol, Ibuprofen or Aspirin and take one of the following every hour, sucked in the mouth:

Camphora 30c (tablets or pillules) chills, cough, changeable fever

Bryonia 30c (tablets or pillules) fever, painful dry cough

Arsenicum album 30c (tablets or pillules) washed out feeling, chilliness, restless or agitated

Veratrum album 30c (diarrhoea, chills and fatigue)

Bryonia and Camphora are the most commonly indicated for Covid-19 from experience so far. Order them directly from one of the UK Homeopathic Pharmacies listed.

7 grammes / 8 grammes = 60 tablets or pillules

14 grammes / 15 grammes = 120 tablets or pillules

That’s the front page of the letter. Overleaf, it lists 11 homeopathic suppliers (across the UK), complete with contact details.

Additionally, the letter was accompanied by a pink slip, containing the following text:

If you find that you need to use any of the treatments outlined here, it is very important that you provide detailed feedback to us, so that we can adapt and improve our advice to others if necessary. Email (feedback only) dispensary@uku.co.uk

What to make of this communication? Remember, this was from the NHS! What to do about it? COMMENTS WELCOME!

12 Responses to Is the NHS recommending homeopathy for the coronavirus?

  • The email domain is a generic one, nothing to do with the NHS. Maybe the responsibility lies with the GP practice. Phone the practice and ask who sent it. The GP concerned should be reported to the Care Quality Commission. You could also report to the GMC but they will rarely act unless somebody dies. Failing that, phone the hospital and insist on knowing who sent it. In English hospitals there are patient liaison services but I can’t identify that in Scotland. This is a very serious violation of government advice and must be stamped on.

  • Uku.co.uk is a private email service. I doubt the NHS would use it.

    My guess is that the homeopath to which your family member was referred is using their contacts to do this. They would have the GP practice number and the NHS number.

    Possibly somebody is slipping these letters into the hospital postal service.

    I would inform the GP, the Hospital and the police.

    If nothing else somebody is illegally using the hospital postal service.
    They may have their minds on other things so!

    • If nothing else somebody is illegally using the hospital postal service.

      It sounds as though they are fraudulently using it to drum up business, as well as save on postage. I would imagine the hospital would take rather a dim view of this.

  • There are probably also several data protection breaches as well so a report to the Information Commissioner’s Office is probably warranted too.

  • Many thanks for these comments.
    Your views reinforce my view that it’s a serious matter. I wonder how many people have received this misinformation – and how many of them might therefore treat possible coronavirus symptoms with homeopathy?

  • Please keep HealthWatch up to date on the findings as we are appalled about this and would like to offer support if your friend doesn’t get anywhere. It needs to be investigated, reported, exposed and suitably prosecuted!

  • I’d be mentioning it to the General Medical Council as well. This sounds like it might be a major breach of confidentiality.

  • The despicable Sandra Hermann-Courtney has taken this post out of context to make it appear that Edzard is recommending homeopathy.

    https://twitter.com/BrownBagPantry/status/1246464597931905026

    Twitter needs to take this down.

  • You might consider contacting local/national press. I think there is a good story here. It might put pressure on the NHS to respond which ethically might be debatable given their current challenges. Pressure on the Homeopathy industry I think would be entirely acceptable.

  • There are only a handful of people who work at NHS hospitals, support homeopathy that would be daft/arrogant enough to send out such a letter. My understanding is that apart from Scotland, no NHS secondary care homeopathy exists anymore and the number of Anthroposophic and homeopathic hobbyist GPs is low too.

    In the past, homeopath doctors have played fast and loose with referral criteria. I suspect that at least one Consultant was referring their day job clinic patients to their hobby homeopathic clinic without CCG approval.

    The rules for NHS data sharing are fiercer than general data protection legislation.

    If the hospital in question is UHB…

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