A discussion: the future role of homeopathy in the National Health Service (NHS)
Received06 December 2009
revised29 November 2010
accepted11 March 2011
18 December 2017 (online)
Homeopathy has been provided by the National Health Service in the UK for over 60 years, funded largely by taxpayer's money. However, in recent years, its provision has come under much criticism questioning its true value. Taking a neutral stance, arguments both for and against the provision of homeopathy on the NHS is presented. It includes issues such as the evidence and safety profile of homeopathy, but also takes into account costs and benefits of homeopathy in a wider perspective. Overall, the provision of homeopathy is justified as long as there is a need within the population, occupying a complementary role alongside conventional medicine.
- 1 Ernst E., White A. BBC survey of complementary medicine use in the UK. Complement Ther Med 2000; 8 (01) 32-36.
- 2 British Homeopathic Association website http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/getting_treatment/homeopathy_in_the_nhs/index.html [accessed 28.11.10].
- 3 Sinead H. Lack of evidence’ blamed as homeopathy funding is withdrawn. KentOnline 29 July 2009 http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/newsarchive.aspx?articleid=45494 [accessed 28.11.10].
- 4 Henderson M. Hard-up NHS trusts cut back on unproven homeopathy treatment. The Times 23 May 2007 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article1826561.ece [accessed 28.11.10].
- 5 Edzard E. Complementary and alternative medicine: what the NHS should be funding?. Br J Gen Pract 2008; 58: 208-209.
- 6 Linde K., Clausius N., Ramirez G. et al. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo controlled trails. Lancet 1997; 350 (9081): 834-843.
- 7 Shang A., Huwiler-Müntener K., Nartey L. et al. Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy. Lancet 2005; 366 (9487): 726-732.
- 8 Randerson J. Doctors renew drive to ban NHS homeopathy. The Guardian 23 May 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/may/23/health.medicineandhealth [accessed 28.11.10].
- 9 Baum M. Doctors’ campaign against alternative therapies. Times Online May 2006 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article723787.ece [accessed 28.11.10].
- 10 Macrae F. 40 per cent fall in homeopathic prescriptions as GP shuns the alternative medicine. Daily Mail 25 July 2008 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1038422/40-cent-fall-homeopathic-prescriptions-GP-shuns-alternative-medicine.html [accessed 28.11.10].
- 11 Praities N. Homeopathy victim of PCT funding cuts. Pulse 30 Jan 2008 http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=4116950 [accessed 28.11.10].
- 12 O’Meara S., Wilson P., Bridle C., Kleijnen J., Wright K. Homeopathy. Effective Health Care, NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York 2002; 7: (03).
- 13 BBC radio 4 23rd May 2007 07:45–07:50 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/listenagain_20070523.shtml [accessed 28.11.10].
- 14 Maxwell K. Homeopathy is worse than witchcraft – and the NHS must stop paying for it. Daily Mail 1 May 2007 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-451908/Homeopathy-worse-witchcraft-NHS-stop-paying-it.html [accessed 28.11.10].
- 15 Ernst E. Ernst’s CAM blog. Pulse. http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/section.asp?navcode=743 [accessed 28.11.10].
- 16 Spence D.S., Thompson E.A., Barron S.J. Homeopathic treatment for chronic disease: a 6-year university-hospital outpatient observational study. J Altern Complement Med 2005; 5: 793-798.
- 17 Criteria for NHS Provision, Chapter 9, House of Lords, Science and Technology Committee Sixth Report: London 2000. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldselect/ldsctech/123/12301.htm.
- 18 McDade D. Evaluation of complementary and alternative medicines by social & market research. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety; May 2008.
- 19 Evidence check 2-Homeopathy, Science and Technology Committee – Fourth Report, House of Commons, UK Parliament 2010.
- 20 http://www.taxtyranny.ca/images/HTML/Medical-Doctors-and-Natural-Health/Articles/ShockingTruth.pdf [accessed 28.11.10].
- 21 Emoto M. The hidden messages in water. Translated by DA Thayne 1st edn. Oregon: Beyond Words Publishing; 2004.
- 22 Basic science research in homeopathy http://www.facultyofhomeopathy.org/research/basic_science_research.html [accessed 28.11.10].
- 23 Homeopathy in the NHS. Campaign pack British Homeopathic Association; 2008.
- 24 NHS spent £350 million on management consultants in a year. Telegraph. 10 May 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5303324/NHS-spent-350million-on-management-consultants-in-a-year.html [accessed 28.11.10].
- 25 Dantas F., Rampes H. Do homeopathic remedies provoke adverse effects? A systematic review. Br Homeopath J 2000; 89 (Suppl. 01) S35-S38.
- 26 Ernst E. CAM practitioners share some of the blame for measles epidemic. Pulse 7 May 2009 http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=4122637 [accessed 28.11.10].
- 27 Edzard E. Homeopaths ride to swine flu. Pulse 6 May 2009 http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=20&storycode=4122632&c=1 [accessed 28.11.10].
- 28 Boseley S. Critics find NHS’s £12m spend on homeopathy hard to swallow. The Guardian 10 June 2009 http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jun/10/complementary-medicine-nhs-more4 [accessed 28.11.10].
- 29 Smallwood C. The role of complementary and alternative medicine in the NHS. Freshminds 2005
- 30 Randomised controlled trials in homeopathy. Faculty of Homeopathy http://www.facultyofhomeopathy.org/research/rcts_in_homeopathy/ [accessed 28.11.10].