Letters: Alternative medicine is about patientchoice

Dear Editor

Alternative medicine activity in the NHS is getting a trashing, especially as £400 million has apparently been spent on it.

There is very little reliable evidence that shows it works but the reason alternative medicine exists is because patients are making choices.

Choice is paramount. Choose and Book has, with other IT initiatives, cost over £50 billion. Apparently 43 per cent of patients want a choice of hospital but, in truth, 75 per cent want a quicker appointment. Patients choose a quicker appointment in favour of the hospital of their choice.

If we are going to give choice in the NHS, patients should have both Choose and Book and alternative therapies. If we are not going to give patients choice, then scrap them both.

When you compare the relative costs of both however which would you scrap if you held the purse strings?

Dr Peter Ilves, Roehampton, south west London.

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