Homeopathy Under Attack (Again)!
It seems that Homeopathy needs to be attacked from the medical establishment periodically. The latest attack occurred on the 10th April 2013. This seems to be a calculated attack as it coincides with the start of homeopathy awareness week.
Ironically, this is great timing for the homeopathy industry as it shines more light on this natural complementary treatment.
The latest criticism is lead by Professor Sir John Beddington, who accused the Government for ignoring his advice against the use of homeopathic remedies by GP’s and NHS hospitals.
There are currently only three homeopathic hospitals in the UK – London, Bristol and Glasgow. The current annual spend on homeopathic remedies and treatments is in the region of £4 million. The NHS’s annual budget in 2011/12 was approximately £106 million.
Financial figures from 2006 revealed that the NHS spent £2bn on treating patients who had suffered adverse effects from medicines that had passed the gold standard double blind clinical trials.
The efficacy of homeopathy has been demonstrated on many clinical trials, so the suggestion that this form of complementary medicine is untested and likening it to witchcraft is highly inaccurate. Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is used successfully around the world. It has been available on the NHS for over 65 years.
There is no doubt that homeopathy polarises opinion. Many people that are passionate about homeopathy have had positive experiences, whereas those people who are vehemently against the use of homeopathy cannot comprehend how the remedies can work. This debate is one that will go on and on, but the accusation of a placebo effect seems quite farfetched as babies and animals have also been successfully treated with homeopathic remedies. Maybe it is the not knowing of how these simple remedies can work, which is threatening number of medics and scientists?
The popularity of homeopathy is as strong as ever with more people looking for alternatives to conventional medicines. It is estimated that 6 to 10 million people in the UK have either used or regularly use homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathy works on the principle that “like cures like”. An illness is treated with a substance (in a highly diluted and succussed form), which could produce similar symptoms in a healthy person. For example, sleeplessness can be treated with a homeopathic form of coffee. It is worth noting that homeopathic remedies are prescribed on the individual patient’s symptoms. Two people with a similar complaint may be prescribed two different homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathy does not promote to treat every illness. There are certain diseases and illnesses that require urgent medical treatment. The suggestion that homeopathy promotes irresponsible treatment is highly inaccurate in my experience.
The Department of Health said, “The Department of Health does not maintain a position on any particular complementary or alternative therapy including homoeopathy.
“It is the responsibility of local NHS organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of any health care treatments for NHS patients, such as homoeopathy. This should take account of issues to do with safety, clinical evidence and cost-effectiveness and the availability of suitably qualified and regulated practitioners.”
Dr Sara Eames, president of the Faculty of Homeopathy, insisted that homoeopathy benefited patients, “Professor Beddington fails to mention that many more randomised clinical trials in homoeopathy have produced positive results than negative.
“Instead of dismissing homoeopathy, surely it would be far more sensible to carry out research into why doctors and other health care professionals trained in homoeopathy and working within the NHS, regularly see such positive patient outcomes following homoeopathic treatment.”