A CAMPAIGN has begun to safeguard the future of Scotland's only homeopathic hospital.

More than 8500 people have signed a petition backing Glasgow's Centre for Integrated Care, one of the few homeopa- thic hospitals in Europe with overnight beds.

The petition has been signed by patients from all over the UK and advocates of homeopathy from as far as Mexico.

Last year, NHS Lanark- shire announced plans for a review into funding for homeopathy at the hospital, at Gartnavel in the West End.

It follows a decision by NHS Highland two years ago to withdraw funding for referrals.

Chief of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Robert Calderwood has previously warned that if other boards follow NHS Highland, he will have to look at how much the hospital costs the board.

The hospital is one of four in the UK funded by the NHS and treats seriously ill patients suffering problems from cancer to motor neurone disease.

Conventional medicine is combined with alternative therapies, such as acupuncture.

The British Medical Association has said the NHS should stop funding such hospitals, arguing there is no evidence of their effectiveness.

However, thousands of patients have voiced support for the hospital and homeopathy on the petition website.

The board consulted on overnight beds at the hospital in 2004 U-turned after a local campaign.

A NHS Greater Glasgow spokeswoman said it had no plans to withdraw funding for inpatient services there.

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk