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Homeopathy challenged in House of Lords debate

BHA Distinguished Supporter and All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) member Lord Taverne has challenged the Government on the use of homeopathy in the NHS.  Lord Taverne took part in a House of Lords debate on homeopathy on Tuesday, and asked a question about the removal of evidence-based advice on homeopathy from the NHS Choices […]

England’s chief medical officer tells Commons Science and Technology committee that homeopathy ‘is rubbish.’

Yesterday, Professor Dame Sally Davies suggested that there is no evidence to support the claim that homeopathic remedies have any medical impact beyond the placebo effect, and condemned the public funding the controversial treatment receives. She told the committee, ‘I am perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS.’ Much scientific evidence has been […]

State-funded Steiner schools teach science from book sceptical of evolution, give homeopathy to students

The Steiner Academy Hereford, the first state-funded Steiner school, teaches science from a curriculum book sceptical of evolution and gives homeopathy to students, the British Humanist Association (BHA) can reveal.

UPDATED! Ask your MP to make a stand and say: No more NHS funding of homeopathy or research into it!

David Tredennick MP, a keen advocate of homeopathy, has tabled an ‘Early Day Motion’ in support of the NHS funding more research into homeopathy

No plans for homeopathy in Oxfordshire welcomed by the BHA

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.’

NHS funding of homeopathy puts ‘patient choice’ above evidence of effectiveness

Homeopathy has no place in a modern state-funded health service unless clear evidence of its effectiveness can be demonstrated, the British Humanist Association (BHA) has reiterated today. The BHA has commented in light of the coalition government’s response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee’s highly critical report on homeopathy.

The government response acknowledges the lack of evidence supporting homeopathy but insists that patient choice, rather than the efficacy of a medicine, is a guiding factor in the commissioning of services, and that decisions concerning the use of homeopathic services are to be deferred to local Primary Care Trusts. Although the government recognises that the majority of independent scientists have found ‘evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy to be weak or absent, and that there is currently no plausible scientific mechanism for homeopathy’, this informed body of evidence has not been adopted as government policy.

Naomi Phillips, the BHA’s Head of Public Affairs commented, ‘We believe the government should be sending a clear and unequivocal message that homeopathy does not work and that it should stop NHS funding of homeopathic remedies altogether, instead of permitting continued funding for homeopathy under the rubric of patient choice. The commissioning of services that are known not to work is irrational, ethically questionable, and it may divert funds away from services that are of proven value.’

Humanists welcome doctors’ call to stop NHS funding of homeopathy

The NHS must stop funding homeopathy, doctors at the British Medical Association (BMA) annual conference have said today. Doctors voted 3 to 1 to ban NHS funding for homeopathic remedies.

Naomi Phillips, BHA Head of Public Affairs, said, ‘We support the BMA in today’s clear call to stop the NHS funding homeopathy. It is outrageous that NHS is funding the provision and testing of treatments that have no evidential basis in their claims of effectiveness.’
‘We are working with other organisations, as well as our membership and supporters, to campaign to ensure that NHS funding is not directed towards treatments such as homeopathic ones that have not been proven to work, or on research that is not backed up by scientific evidence.’

Ms Phillips continued, ‘Whether NHS or privately funded, it is also our position that where homeopathic products are sold in pharmacies, pharmacists have a duty to tell patients that homeopathic products and treatments are not effective.’

Pharmacists have a duty to tell patients homeopathy is not effective

Pharmacists have a duty to tell patients that homeopathic products and treatments are not effective, the BHA has stated in its response to a consultation on new guidance for pharmacists. The draft guidance was produced by the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland, in response to recommendations by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee following its inquiry on the use of homeopathy in the health service earlier this year.

Naomi Phillips, BHA Head of Public Affairs, said, ‘No pharmacies in the UK should be selling or labelling homeopathic products as effective. As trusted medical experts at point of delivery, pharmacists have a duty to explain to patients that there is no clinical or scientific evidence to support claims that homeopathy is effective. They should also explain the potentially great health risks associated with how some people take homeopathic products, for instance where someone chooses to take homeopathic products as alternative “medicine”, rather than supplementary to medically recommended and effective treatments.

‘We particularly support the recommendation in the guidance that there are clear signs on shelves where homeopathic products are being sold, advising patients to seek further advice from the pharmacist. This alerts the patient that there are issues related to homeopathic products that they should be informed of, by an expert, before they purchase any products. Increasing patient awareness and choice in this way is to be welcomed.

Ms Phillips continued, ‘It is outrageous that NHS is funding the provision and testing of treatments that have no evidential basis in their claims of effectiveness. Public policy should be rational and evidence-based and the government should be ensuring that public funds are spent on treatments that have been proven to work, and on research that is backed up by scientific evidence. To do otherwise is irrational, unethical and a waste of public money.’

BHA comments on new report into public funding of homeopathy

The BHA has today commented on a report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee which has called on the government to stop funding homeopathic services on the NHS. The report, which summarised the findings of the committee’s inquiry into government policy on homeopathy, states that there is no evidence that homeopathy is effective. It also recommends that no further public funding be used to test the efficacy of homeopathic treatment, as it has been clearly established that it does not work.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips commented, ‘It is clear from this report that NHS funding is being spent on treatments that have no evidential basis in their claims of effectiveness. There has been enough testing of homeopathy to provide plenty of evidence showing that it is not efficacious. Public policy should be rational and evidence-based and the government should be ensuring that public funds are spent on treatments that have been proven to work, and on research that is backed up by scientific evidence. To do otherwise is irrational, unethical and a waste of public money.’

NHS bosses demand ‘dangerous’ homeopaths have accreditation revoked

Senior NHS officials have written to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) demanding accreditation of the Society of Homeopaths is revoked when it is due for renewal next year, citing serious concerns about the group’s promotion of anti-vaccine myths. The PSA is an independent safeguarding organisation that regulates and registers professionals working in the fields of […]

Legal challenge launched over organisation promoting dangerous homeopathic anti-vax therapy

The Good Thinking Society, a charity that promotes science and campaigns against pseudoscience, has today launched a legal challenge against the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) over its decision to continue to accredit the Society of Homeopaths despite concerns it has raised that the Society continues to promote a dangerous ‘treatment’ based on discredited ideas about […]

Humanists UK welcomes Ofsted’s calls to close failing Steiner schools

Today Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman wrote to Secretary for State for Education Damian Hinds urging the Government to shut down failing Steiner schools. The letter also confirmed the closure of the School Inspection Service. In the letter, the Chief Inspector of Ofsted wrote: ‘Given the prevalence and seriousness of these issues across both state-funded and independent […]

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