Thousands of people want NHS Lanarkshire to be able to keep referring local patients to Glasgow’s homeopathic hospital.
But only a very small proportion of these supporters of homeopathy are from the area.
In a report likely to have far reaching consequences for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth patients who want homeopathic treatment 4,800 people have answered “yes” to the question of whether local patients should still be sent to the Centre for Integrated Care (CIC, also known as the homeopathic hospital) while 1,113 said no.
But of those who supported continued local referrals just over 4,ooo – around 75 per cent – weren’t from Lanarkshire and hadn’t used the service.
Just 265 people, or 4.9 per cent of the total response, were from Lanarkshire and had been patients at the hospital.
The study on whether Lanarkshire patients should be able to obtain treatment at the Glasgow facility has already lasted four years.
And after exhaustive evidence-gathering and analysis the NHS Lanarkshire board will next month decide whether to continue referrals to the hospital.
The newly-released report shows the arguments about homeopathy continue to rage .
Opinion appears polarised between claims that what is often called natural or alternative medicine treatment is either completely useless or, on the contrary, highly effective.
Meanwhile supporters of homeopathy argue that it continues to offer an alternative form of treatment to people who are not responding to conventional medicine.
However one GP said there were local instances of patients refusing to take the flu jab because they were on homseopathic medicine.
But an advisory group which rejected homeopathy as unscientifically proven nevertheless said regular local services could be under greater strain if the patients could no longer be referred to the CIC.
Two un-named MSP’s both supported local referrals to the hospital, arguing levels of patient satisfaction were high.
But one GP said: “If a truly integrated chronic condition service was available in Lanarkshire, where doctors, nurses, physios, dieticians and psychological services had input then I would welcome funds being transferred to this service.”