The Prince of Wales corresponded with Secretaries of State for Health on the Cherry Knowle hospital site, hospital food and complementary medicine.
Cherry Knowle hospital site
The old victorian asylum building on the Cherry Knowle site in Sunderland, also known as the Laurels Block, was decommissioned in 1995. Since then the Mental Health Trust (South of Tyne and Wearside) received outline planning permission for redeveloping the site for housing, a hospital and community facilities.
In 2003 The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, now known as The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, conducted an Enquiry by Design exercise. The foundation worked with the local community and stakeholders to come up with a new vision for the site. It identified that the original site of the hospital would be regenerated as housing, and that a new hospital and around 800 homes could be built on site.
In 2004 it was announced that the site would be transferred (together with other NHS surplus estates) to the English Partnerships agency. Following this change in ownership the proposed plans for the site stalled, leaving the hospital and its estate to fall into further disrepair. His Royal Highness’s correspondence emphasises his commitment to the rescue of historic buildings with input from, and for the benefit of, the local community. The correspondence highlights the work that The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community did with the local community. It also explains the ways in which the community’s vision could be implemented following the change of ownership of the site.
Herbal medicine and acupuncture
This correspondence was with the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the Secretary of State for Health, John Reid.
The European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medical Products (THMPD) was enacted into UK law in 2004, and fully implemented in 2011. According to the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA), this left many practitioners of herbal medicine unregulated. This, in turn, meant that a significant number of herbal remedies, on which patients had come to rely, disappeared. Third-party suppliers were no longer able to offer products to practitioners, as, without statutory regulation, the practitioners were not recognised under the terms of the directive. As an alternative, people have since sourced remedies from unknown suppliers, often over the internet.
In 2005 the Department of Health was considering regulation of herbal medicine and acupuncture, following the European Directive.
Hospital food and complementary medicine
The then Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson MP, wrote to the Prince to provide some information on food waste in hospitals and the possibility of a pilot in England on the integration of complementary and alternative medicine in the NHS. The minister also mentioned the regulatory burden on herbal medicines.
The Prince wrote to the then Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson MP, to express his support for the integration of complementary medicine into the NHS alongside conventional medicine. The Prince also raised his concerns about the possible closure of homeopathic hospitals that had proved beneficial to patients. The minister replied to the Prince to provide some information on the funding for homeopathic hospitals and recent projects on the effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine. A member of the Prince’s household responded to thank the minister for his letter.
The then Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson MP, wrote to the Prince to discuss the control of ragwort in the UK.
The Prince wrote to the then Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson MP, to explain the initiative led by the Royal Brompton Hospital, linking hospital catering to local farmers’ hubs. The minister replied to express his interest in the initiative and to mention a Cabinet Office report, Food Matters, on the way in which food affects both health and the environment.
The newly appointed Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP, wrote to the Prince to thank him for his letter and to suggest a meeting to discuss the initiative at the Royal Brompton Hospital and other topics of interest, including the possibility of a study on integrating complementary and conventional healthcare approaches in England.
Annual review of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
An official also sent copies of the Annual Report of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to the then Secretary of State for Health in 2008 and 2009.