Homeopathy

Britain's NHS Funding Homeopathic Treatments

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

The National Health Service often funds homeopathic treatments, according to a poll in a British medical magazine.

Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported that GP magazine polled Britain’s 151 primary care trusts (PCTs), which are local divisions of NHS-funded health services, to see which ones paid for homeopathy. 104 PCTs responded to the poll, and 32 of those funded homeopathic treatments. That’s roughly one in three.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has asked for the NHS to stop spending money on homeopathy. The Science and Technology Committee in the House of Commons also said they believed homeopathy should no longer be funded, but in June 2010, the British government announced that homeopathic medicine funding was at the discretion of each PCT.

BMA Science and Ethics head Dr. Vivienne Nathanson argued that "homeopathic remedies do not have a scientific evidence base to support their use. The BMA believes that limited and scarce NHS resources should only be used to support medicine and treatment that have been shown to be effective."

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Dr. Sarah Eames, a former general practitioner who is now the head of the Faculty of Homeopathy, said that it should be up to doctors whether they prescribe homeopathic treatments: “We believe in patients being able to make informed choices about their treatment, and in a clinician being able to prescribe the treatment they feel most appropriate in particular circumstances, which may include complementary or alternative treatments such as homeopathy.” Besides, Eames, added, only a tiny amount of the NHS’s drug budget was spent on prescription homeopathy in 2008: £152,000, or 0.001%.

On the flipside, 10 PCTs reported that they’d stopped funding homeopathic medicine, because there was no scientific evidence that it worked.

Originally published on GrannyMed