NHS managers have been accused of ignoring patients' views when making the controversial decision to stop referring people to Scotland's homeopathic hospital.

Executives from four different health boards were grilled by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament about access to the hospital, known as the Centre for Integrative Care (CIC), in Glasgow.

The politicians heard NHS Lanarkshire stopped sending patients to the service last year even though people had told them they benefitted from the treatment on offer.

Dr Harpreet Kohli, director of public health for NHS Lanarkshire, told the public petitions committee the decision was based on "sound science" rather than patients' experience of the treatment they were receiving.

MSPs responded saying that while the health service was supposed to be "patient centred" the views and wishes of those using the CIC were being ignored.

John Wilson, an independent MSP who defected from the SNP, revealed his own daughter had avoided surgery as a toddler after a homeopathic practitioner suggested she gave up dairy products.

He said she was due to have her tonsils and adenoids removed after contracting a stream of viruses, but this was not necessary after they changed her diet.

He said: "That is an example of where we need alternative options for many patients in society today and to close down those alternative options closes down a whole raft of alternative treatments that would actually save the NHS money and time and patients frustration."

The discussion, at Holyrood's public petitions committee, was sparked by a petition lodged by patient Catherine Hughes calling for the CIC to receive national funding so people could use it from across Scotland.

The CIC is specifically for patients with long term conditions and deals with the person as a whole – rather than their different health problems – to help improve their wellbeing. Alongside homeopathy (when patients take diluted natural substances) and acupuncture, the hospital offers counselling, massage and art and music therapies.

The MSPs are considering the petition at a time when NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is planning to review the future of the centre as part of a wide-ranging search for spending cuts.

Lanarkshire is not the only health board to consider its use of the CIC. NHS Lothian and NHS Highland have also withdrawn routine funding for referrals to the Glasgow hospital.

Catriona Renfrew, director of planning and policy for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said the CIC was "financially viable" despite the loss of patients from elsewhere in Scotland as the majority of people who use it live in the NHS GGC area.

However, she added: "We do need to look at the decisions and reviews that have been done in other health boards."

Dr Kohli said withdrawing access to the CIC was a tough decision for board members in Lanarkshire. He said: "This was not an easy decision for board members to make because you have two elements of the quality strategy in dissonance – the evidence that we have about the effectiveness of interventions and patient experience."

He later added that based on "sound science" evidence not just for homeopathy but other interventions provided by the centre was lacking.

After the meeting Ms Hughes, who has a number of complex conditions and has been treated at the CIC, said it was cruel to deny patients from some parts of Scotland access to the hospital.

She said: "Patients with chronic conditions are being treated as second class citizens. There are no services for us and the few services we have got they are starting to chip away at and withdraw."

She called on the Scottish Government to use their authority and provide ring-fenced funding for the hospital to ensure equal access for patients nationwide.