SCOTLAND'S only homeopathic hospital could be facing a fresh threat after another health board axed funding for services.

SCOTLAND'S only homeopathic hospital could be facing a fresh threat after another health board axed funding for services.

NHS Lanarkshire is to stop referring patients to the Centre for Integrative Care in Glasgow from April next year despite overwhelming support from patients to continue the service.

The board's director of public services said there was "insufficient evidence" that homeopathic remedies improved the outcome for patients.

Patients currently using services will continue to do so for the duration of their treatment.

The decision follows a four-year review which looked at evidence from patients, GPs and health professionals. Around 6000 responses were studied with almost 75% coming from outwith Lanarkshire.

It follows a decision by NHS Highland and NHS Lothian 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.

A petition to safeguard the future of the hospital has been signed by thousands of people from all over the UK.

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.

Dr Harpreet Kohli, director of public health medicine for NHS Lanarkshire said: "I looked at all this evidence and concluded, like many other studies, that the principles on which homoeopathy is based are scientifically implausible and there is insufficient evidence that homoeopathic remedies improve a patient's clinical outcome.

"I accept that there will always be views from some patients expressing benefit from the service and I also recognise that the majority of those who responded to our consultation expressed a preference for continuing to use the CIC.

"However, there has been extensive investigation of the effectiveness of homoeopathy and there is no good-quality evidence that it is effective as a treatment for any health condition.

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

A spokesman for NHSGGC said: "As we have consistently said, the position we adopted after the 2005 review to retain the inpatient service has not changed.

"However, we are reliant on the ongoing commitment from other Boards to make use of the inpatient services to maintain their viability.

"Any changes which may arise as a result of funding decisions by NHS Boards in Scotland would be the subject of full consultation with staff and patients."