The Department of Health has decided to continue the funding of homeopathy treatments within the NHS.
A Commons science select committee had called for homeopathy to no longer be funded on the NHS, with the Government’s chief scientific adviser John Beddington stating “evidence of efficacy and the scientific basis of homeopathy is highly questionable”. The British Medical Association‘s Dr Tom Dolphin likened homeopathy to witchcraft.
However, despite these objections to the scientific merit of homepathy, public health minister Anne Milton, confirmed: “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 includes complementary or alternative treatments such as homeopathy. It is the responsibility of clinicians to discuss the risks and benefits of specific treatment options with individual patients; and to take into account safety, clinical and cost-effectiveness and the availability of suitably qualified/regulated practitioners.”
While the NHS spends a mere £4 million a year on homeopathy, the UK consumer spends is many times that.
Many health cash and private medical insurance policies do cover homeopathy and other complementary and alternative treatments.