In light of the controversial use of homeopathy as an alternative form of medication by some NHS Centres, local MP, Andrew Gwynne, has secured a significant guarantee from the Department of Health, specifically that regulator will issue new guidelines over the use of homeopathy.
A House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy stated categorically that perform no better than placebos, and that the principles on which homeopathy is based are “scientifically implausible”.(1) More recently the NHS issued online guidelines which stated categorically that, “there is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is an effective treatment for these or any other health conditions.”(2) However at no stage has the government sought to change official guidelines.
Over a three-month period Gwynne laid 11 questions to various government departments in an attempt to find out what records the government held and if they would change official guidelines which are opaque. Although the Department of Health revealed it didn’t hold any figures for England – the local MP did however secure a guarantee from the Minister of State that guidelines would be changed:
“The description of the philosophy of homeopathy stated in the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) online guidance has been amended by the MHRA to better reflect the available evidentiary basis relating to the philosophy of homeopathy.”(3)
Andrew Gwynne said:
“It’s plain wrong that the NHS gives roughly £5 million per year4 to support homeopathy both at hospital level and prescription level, whilst at the same time the Department of Health have refused to address the issue of rules around its use, until now.
“The figure may only be a small amount compared to the wider budget, but £5 million pays for an extra 200 nurses or 50 consultants a year.
“Time and again organisations from across the health spectrum including the BMA, NHS England and other have said we must follow a wholly scientific approach to medicine, of which homeopathy is not subjected to. I’m delighted that Ministers seem to have finally understood this fact.”