I am reminded of George Orwell when reading about health plans. He wrote: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Catriona Renfrew, Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board (GGCHB) director of planning and policy, wrote to the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee about the Centre of Integrative Care (CIC), formerly Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital.

She stated that the board wanted “to move the CIC to become an entirely ambulatory service and to utilise the vacated inpatient capacity to provide the new national (chronic) pain service” There would be “real service synergy” and “positive change for the CIC”.

Translation: “ambulatory” and “positive change” involve removing beds and downgrading the CIC to a Greater Glasgow outpatient clinic, ending years of taking patients from much of Scotland. People on Arran or in the Highlands with Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatic diseases or cancer suffer the same as someone in Glasgow.

The CIC’s holistic care is a last chance for complex cases where conventional treatment hasn’t worked.

Why should the long established CIC, with surveys showing 100 per cent patient satisfaction, be the loser, the cutback Cinderella?

The new service is open nationally to suitable sufferers but will treat only 80 to 100 a year. These patients don’t need hospital beds; they’re in serviced flats. The CIC takes 332 in patients annually and has 7,500 outpatient attendances. The Scottish Government pays £700,000 annually for the new service. So far, they it has not nationally finance the CIC, leaving patients at the mercy of local health boards. Should there be such inequality?

Downgrading the CIC means breaking the promise from the NHS’s foundation in 1948 to continue alternative care in a special hospital. This one wasn’t created by the NHS. The present beautiful hospital, opened in the grounds of Gartnavel in 1999 by Prince Charles, was custom-built using almost £3 million in public donations stretching back 70 years. This raises political and perhaps legal issues. Before devolution, secretaries of state for Scotland protected the hospital. Will today's SNP Government let the board end protection?

CIC patient campaigner Catherine Hughes calls the proposal “stealing a hospital”. She says: "This betrays thousands who donated in good faith.” The board pays for much of the £2m total running costs (some £400,000 for inpatients).

The residential service meets in another Gartnavel building; two services, different methods. Surely both are essential, as rising long term conditions overwhelm the NHS.

"This situation is scandalous as the board have manufactured a run down,” claims Ms Hughes.

She won a campaign against the board’s plan to close all beds 12 years ago. Management subsequently closed the hospital at weekends and reduced it to seven beds. Now, it wants none. For 13 tough years, I campaigned for Scotland to have her own mainstream residential pain service (a win), replacing the outrage of sending severe cases to Bath.

I don’t use alternative methods so I have no personal axe to grind. But my investigations point to influence on the part of those against homeopathy. This began in England and, quoting English attacks, three Scottish boards withdrew from the CIC in recent years: Lanarkshire, Lothian and Highland.

Homeopathy is the trigger word but the CIC uses numerous integrative treatments.

GGCHB categorises its plan as only a “minor service change”.

Is it a minor matter to end a hospital nationally, demote it to an outpatient clinic, ignore promises made since 1948 and downgrade a publicly donated heritage?

Minor or major proposals must go to the Scottish Health Council. This body, costing more than £2m annually, usually agrees with boards. It supervises public consultations.

In 2014, nine members of Lanarkshire’s board voted against a public consultation majority of 4,800 opposed to withdrawing from the CIC. The Health Council accepted the decision.

Former health secretary Alex Neil is calling for the Scottish Government to fund the CIC nationally, freeing patients from board decisions. He says: “Prejudice against homeopathic medicine cannot be allowed to lead to cutbacks to a service which has clearly benefitted a significant number of people over many years." As his compassionate decision while in office created the residential service, his support for both services is significant.

For more than a year, the board issued umpteen “reassurances” that there were “no plans to close the CIC or to change service provision”. Well, we know now.