County rules out NHS funding for homeopathy

Banbury Cake: Dr Steven Cartwright with some of his homeopathic treatments Dr Steven Cartwright with some of his homeopathic treatments

HOMEOPATHS in Oxford have hit out at county health bosses after they ruled out treating patients with alternative and complementary medicines.

Last week the Government announ-ced homoeopathic medicines would continue to be available on the NHS despite an influential health committee condemning them as medically unproven.

Health minister Anne Milton’s announcement followed the publication of a report by the Commons science and techonology committee which concluded homoeopathic medicine should not be funded on the NHS and called for a ban on publishing medical claims on labels.

Despite the Government decision, NHS Oxfordshire, the county’s primary care trust, said complementary and alternative therapies, including homeopathy, remained a low priority for the trust.

Homeopathy is a form of complementary medicine that aims to trigger the patient’s natural system of healing.

Practitioners prescribe highly diluted pills made of substances which would usually trigger the ailment in a healthy person.

It is typically used to treat recurring infections, skin conditions, chronic fatigue, migraines and stress-related symptoms.

Jeremy Servian, health care priorities practitioner at NHS Oxfordshire, said: “Patients would not normally be offered complementary or alternative therapies in specialist, secondary or primary care settings, due to a lack of conclusive evidence as to effectiveness and limited resources.”

Related links

However, Dr Steven Cartwright, who practices homeopathy in Oxford and runs Oxford Homeopathy, an educational forum, said it was short-sighted to say there was inconclusive evidence to support homeopathy.

He added: “There is as yet no explanation as to how homeopathy works, but that will be forthcoming.

“I’m quite confident the evidence is beginning to accumulate, and a few years down the line we will have an explanation as to how it works.”

Susan Irvine, a registered homeopath in Rose Hill, Oxford, said: “This decision limits the possibilities, perhaps, for people who may not be able to have private treatment from a homeopath, and it means that less people will have access to homeopathy.”

However, former MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Dr Evan Harris welcomed the decision.

Dr Harris is a member of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee and was part of the committee that said homeopathy was medically unproven and should not be funded by the NHS.

He said: “People should be able to purchase homeopathy privately in a free country, but, when cash is so tight in the NHS that effective drugs for serious conditions can’t be afforded, it is wrong that taxpayers’ money can be spent by the NHS on an intervention which is recognised by scientific consensus to be no more effective than a sugar pill.”

Andy Lewis, of Oxford Skeptics in the Pub, a group that promotes sceptical thought, also backed the PCT.

He said the Government's ruling to allow homeopathy to continue on the NHS was “indefensible” because it deprived people of “real healthcare”.

In January, Oxford Skeptics in the Pub took part in a national “mass overdose” of homeopathic medicine, in which group members each consumed an entire bottle of pills made up of arsenic, deadly nightshade and sleeping tablets.

No one was affected by the pills.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:45pm Tue 10 Aug 10

Berty says...

Thank goodness! Spend the money on something that has been proven to work, like physiotherapy. Common sense rarely prevalis, but it has here. If homeopathy works for you then buy your own. It's a lot cheaper than private physio.

I researched homeopathy in great depth after becoming ill as a good friend is a practitioner, and my conclusion is that it's a lot like having faith in a god of some sort; it works for some, but there is no scientific proof that it has any physiological benefit.

Sorry if that upsets anyone, but I think empirical evidence is the very least we should expect when public funding is being proposed, as what money we DO have should be spent on drugs such as new cancer-treatments which are being refused on grounds of cost, even though it is known that they work.
Thank goodness! Spend the money on something that has been proven to work, like physiotherapy. Common sense rarely prevalis, but it has here. If homeopathy works for you then buy your own. It's a lot cheaper than private physio. I researched homeopathy in great depth after becoming ill as a good friend is a practitioner, and my conclusion is that it's a lot like having faith in a god of some sort; it works for some, but there is no scientific proof that it has any physiological benefit. Sorry if that upsets anyone, but I think empirical evidence is the very least we should expect when public funding is being proposed, as what money we DO have should be spent on drugs such as new cancer-treatments which are being refused on grounds of cost, even though it is known that they work. Berty
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Mon 16 Aug 10

Vin0123 says...

Hang on a minute, you say they should spend money on something that is proven to work but go on to say that if Homeopathy works for you then you should have to buy it privately.
Surely thats somewhat of a double standard. Most doctors will tell you that the various cancer treatments aren't 100% guaranteed, I mean seriously the medical proffession don't even know what causes cancer let alone how to full reverse it without either chopping you up or blasting you with radiation (which by the way is a sure fire way of mutating a cell). Personally I say if they can find a natural way to kick-start the bodies own rather impressive healing system then why not fund it.
There are alot of doctors out there who wont even think about eastern healing techniques yet the chinese hierarchy have had life spans matching what we have now for thousands of years with such medical practices.
Hang on a minute, you say they should spend money on something that is proven to work but go on to say that if Homeopathy works for you then you should have to buy it privately. Surely thats somewhat of a double standard. Most doctors will tell you that the various cancer treatments aren't 100% guaranteed, I mean seriously the medical proffession don't even know what causes cancer let alone how to full reverse it without either chopping you up or blasting you with radiation (which by the way is a sure fire way of mutating a cell). Personally I say if they can find a natural way to kick-start the bodies own rather impressive healing system then why not fund it. There are alot of doctors out there who wont even think about eastern healing techniques yet the chinese hierarchy have had life spans matching what we have now for thousands of years with such medical practices. Vin0123
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Mon 16 Aug 10

Vin0123 says...

Hang on a minute, you say they should spend money on something that is proven to work but go on to say that if Homeopathy works for you then you should have to buy it privately.
Surely thats somewhat of a double standard. Most doctors will tell you that the various cancer treatments aren't 100% guaranteed, I mean seriously the medical proffession don't even know what causes cancer let alone how to full reverse it without either chopping you up or blasting you with radiation (which by the way is a sure fire way of mutating a cell). Personally I say if they can find a natural way to kick-start the bodies own rather impressive healing system then why not fund it.
There are alot of doctors out there who wont even think about eastern healing techniques yet the chinese hierarchy have had life spans matching what we have now for thousands of years with such medical practices.
Hang on a minute, you say they should spend money on something that is proven to work but go on to say that if Homeopathy works for you then you should have to buy it privately. Surely thats somewhat of a double standard. Most doctors will tell you that the various cancer treatments aren't 100% guaranteed, I mean seriously the medical proffession don't even know what causes cancer let alone how to full reverse it without either chopping you up or blasting you with radiation (which by the way is a sure fire way of mutating a cell). Personally I say if they can find a natural way to kick-start the bodies own rather impressive healing system then why not fund it. There are alot of doctors out there who wont even think about eastern healing techniques yet the chinese hierarchy have had life spans matching what we have now for thousands of years with such medical practices. Vin0123
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Mon 16 Aug 10

Vin0123 says...

Also, if one were to look at the most common idea on causes for skin cancer (aka radiation from the sun) - and the most common 'curing method' for combating cancer (radiation treatment). It 'could' be argued that this is following a homeopathic line of reasoning - i.e. like cures like.
Also, if one were to look at the most common idea on causes for skin cancer (aka radiation from the sun) - and the most common 'curing method' for combating cancer (radiation treatment). It 'could' be argued that this is following a homeopathic line of reasoning - i.e. like cures like. Vin0123
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree