Confirmation by a local health authority that complementary or alternatives therapies will not be offered has been welcomed by the British Humanist Association (BHA). Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust has confirmed that homeopathic treatments will not be offered as an alternative to conventional therapies as there is a lack of evidence for their effectiveness.
The announcement comes shortly after the government’s response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s highly critical report of homeopathy. The committee’s report found ‘systematic reviews and meta-analyses conclusively demonstrate that homeopathic products perform no better than placebos’. The government response did not recommend that the NHS should cease funding homeopathic treatments but rather deferred the responsibility on whether to permit the use of homeopathic products to local health authorities.
Naomi Philips, BHA Head of Public Affairs, welcomed NHS Oxfordshire’s decision: ‘The NHS Constitution is explicit in the patient’s ‘right to expect local decisions on funding of other drugs and treatments to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence’, and we are glad to see these principles being respected in this instance. All the evidence suggests that homeopathic treatments do not work.’
‘Ultimately, we believe it important that the government should adopt the conclusions of their own Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor John Beddington, who has stated that there is no evidence base for homeopathy or reason for its continued use. In the meantime, it is important local health authorities explicitly state they will not provide homeopathic services.’
For further comment or information, contact Naomi Phillips, 07540 257101, 020 7079 3585.
It is the BHA’s position that homeopathic treatments should not be funded by the NHS, that no further public money should be spent researching such treatments when the evidence that they do not work (except in some cases having a placebo effect) is overwhelming, and that pharmacists who do sell homeopathic products have a duty to make clear that there is no scientific or clinical evidence base to support the efficacy of those products.
The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the non-religious and campaigning for an end to religious privilege and discrimination based on religion or belief.