British Government confirms place of homeopathy in the NHS

Evidence Check: Homeopathy

On 26 July 2010, the British Government responded to the Science and Technology (S&T) Committee report ‘Evidence Check2: Homeopathy'. The Government reaffirms that homeopathy belongs in the National Health Service (NHS) where patients can best benefit from doctors integrating it into healthcare. The response clearly states that ‘local NHS and clinicians, rather than Whitehall, are best placed to make decisions on what treatment is appropriate for their patients - including complementary or alternative treatments such as homeopathy - and provide accordingly for those treatments.'

The British Faculty of Homeopathy and the British Homeopathic Association welcomed the government response. Dr Sara Eames, President of the Faculty of Homeopathy and LMHI Secretary for Public Relations, states: ‘As a doctor who practices homeopathy on the NHS, I know homeopathy is an important part of our health service helping tens of thousands of patients annually, a majority of whom have not been helped sufficiently with conventional treatments. I am pleased to see the government, contrary to the recommendations of the Science and Technology's report, agrees that homeopathy has a place in the NHS and offers choice to both patients and local purchasers of healthcare.'

‘I am pleased to see that the government's response embraces patients' right to make informed choices about healthcare,' notes British Homeopathic Association Chief Executive, Cristal Sumner. ‘This response makes it quite clear that this choice includes complementary medicine and homeopathy more particularly, which is a welcome affirmation to all current and potential patients across the UK.'

To see the full government response click here

To see commentary on Science and Technology report click here 

In its report Evidence Check: Homeopathy, published on 22 February 2010, the S&T Committee of the United Kingdom House of Commons concluded that homeopathy is not efficacious (i.e. does not work beyond the placebo effect), that explanations for why homeopathy would work are scientifically implausible and that further clinical trials of homeopathy could not be justified. According the the S&T Committee, the National Health Service NHS should cease funding homeopathy and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) should no longer license homeopathic medicines.