SWINDON councillor Wayne Crabbe is campaigning for alternative medicines and therapies to be available free-of-charge on the NHS in Swindon.

Homeopathy, one of the most widely-practised alternative therapies, is provided on the NHS in Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool and London, but is normally only a privately-funded treatment in Swindon.

Homeopathy is a treatment based on the use of highly diluted substances, which practitioners believe can cause the body to heal itself. Other alternative therapies include osteopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy and massage.

The Royal Family have used homeopathy since the reign of Queen Victoria, and the current Queen is patron of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital and Ainsworths, the homeopathic pharmacy in London.

Coun Crabbe (Con, Wroughton and Wichelstowe), who first started using alternative treatments about 30 years ago, says it is against the core principle of the NHS that such therapies are only available to those who can pay, claiming Swindon residents deserve a democratic choice as to whether they choose to be treated with alternative therapies or prescription drugs.

He presented a report to Swindon Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee, indicating that in some cases, alternative medicines are more effective than some mainstream treatments and can save money on drugs.

Coun Crabbe said: “It’s totally unfair. Why is it right I can get an osteopath to manipulate my back just because I can afford it? It shouldn’t be about financial ability to pay for something.

“If it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for everyone else in the country. “If it’s good enough for people in Liverpool, London and Bristol to have it, it’s good enough for everyone in Swindon to have it.”

Coun Crabbe, who uses an osteopath based at the Health Hydro, in Milton Road, said: “I was popping painkillers because of the lower back pain that I had and it was when I was on Thamesdown Borough Council in the 1980s.

“Thamesdown Borough Council, when the doctors moved out of the Health Hydro to Carfax Street, put alternative therapy practitioners in there.

“Someone said to me they were quite good, so I just went along.

“It definitely works better than anything else. It’s instant.”