Good to see the drugs therapy junkies and political lobbyists too jumping on the band wagon and out in such force today in todays Times! Dont you think you are overdoing it this time gentlemen? According to the FT homeopathic prescriptions cost the NHS £122,000 last year. You have already done tremendous harm to vulnerable patients and put off many from studying and seeking treatments. Why not rest on your 'laurels'. After all is not £122,000 the pay of an average GP who certainly could not take the credit for 200,000 GP and 40,000 hospital interventions which homeopathy provides.
So what did you do dad in the days of aquarius? Son I closed down a bunch of homeopathic hospitals and got flowers banned from the rest. I was for animal experiments and GM crops against bishops and the monarchy and any kind of institution. After all its only rational. Hippies and flower power the anti-homeopathy campaign is not. It is the opposite of that wonderful movement. It is opposite in effect, irrational and damaging.
Of course it is good that institutions are not above questioning and criticism, that is what keeps them corruption free and working. It is a fact that only political and religious institutions can meet peoples needs. We are better with them that without them or we enter a new dark age.
Homeopathy works and there is nothing less scientific than to deny the evidence of our own eyes and taking refuge in the nonsense that Colquhoun and Evans had published today. Fortunately thousands of real scientists (who are working doctors who do have enquiring minds and care of patients) are fascinated by complementary therapies that evidently work and want to know why. Worldwide research continues to accumulate at an unprecented level and with much improved scientific method. Nobel prizes have been won and there are Nobel prizes to be won. So what is this about?
The human body ages and regulates itself, interacting with microorganisms with a shared chemical intelligence in ways we still only dimly understand. This is not psycho-social, this is high science. The new frontier. In the space of a generation bacteria have evolved cellular mechanisms to identify and spit out the 'active ingredient'. The 'active ingredient' orthodoxy is under threat.
Homeopathy is a serious existential threat to the profits of pharmaceutical companies because homeopathy shows, amongst many other things, that symptoms of disease can be an illusion of the mind - what doctors call 'the worried well'. There is also the whole area of interest as to why homeopathic treatments succeed in stimulating the body to heal itself where conventional treatments fail or are too toxic for a particular patient.
Without homeopathy there would be no limit to the NHS drug bill. The more 'active ingredients' the better.
I am therefore for homeopathy. Not because homeopathy is good or bad, cheap or costly nor beause I understand it but because in trained medical hands it works where conventional treatments fail or are to toxic for a particular patient and is therefore worthy of research.
Complimentary treatments which increase or extend the effectiveness of conventional treatments are an important area of study. There is an area of self treatment which is subclinical which either does not merit the risks of medical or surgical intervention or where a diagnosis is not yet possible. This is perfect grounds for homeopathy.
Research shows that undiagnosed symptoms give rise to anxiety and depression in 70% of cases. You can literally worry yourself sick. All symptoms should be reported to your GP who will be able to discern whether your condition merits the risks of medical or surgical treatment or whether it is right to recommend a complementary health practitioner.
An expert - who is not a doctor or a homeopath says...
Doctors who are not homeopathic doctors say
Simon Singh, the science journalist unsuccessfully sued for libel for his criticism of chiropractic, another complementary therapy, praised the activism of scientists and the 10:23 movement: “Bit by bit homeopathic degrees are being closed down, but it is nothing to do with the government or the medical establishment,” he said.
10.23 movement and 'stunts'
"In Britain and Australia, horrified scientists are fighting hard against the teaching of alternative therapies in publicly funded universities and against their provision in mainstream medical care. They have had most success in Britain. Some universities have been shamed into ending alternative courses. The number of homeopathic hospitals in Britain is dwindling. In 2005 the Lancet, a leading medical journal, declared “the end of homeopathy”. In 2010 a parliamentary science committee advised that “the government should not endorse the use of placebo treatments including homeopathy.” So, should alternative medicine be treated on a par with the traditional sort and taught in medical schools?"
jeez even the economist - that didnt come cheap - you dont need a first class degree in economics to see on economic grounds alone yes of course Homeopathy should be part of the NHS. 240,000 interventions costing £122,000 i, £4m if you take into account all establishment costs - if thats not a bargain I dont know what is.
Do you get the feeling there is a campaign running? Who is funding this? The cost of a media campaign like this probably exceeds the entire £122,00 NHS Budget on homeopathic medicines!
Doctors who are working homeopathic doctors say
Yes- Dr Sara Eames, president of the Faculty of Homeopathy, Luton
‘Homeopathy is a safe and cost- effective form of medicine which is used by fully trained doctors to treat approximately 200,000 patients a year in general practice and 40,000 in hospital. The hospital patients are all referred by their GPs or hospital consultant, often because they have not been helped by conventional medicine, have had intolerable side-effects or the orthodox treatment is not suitable for the individual patient. ‘There is growing evidence for homeopathy, with over 150 double- blind trials, far more of which are positive than negative. These trials are a “gold standard” in medicine and are specifically designed to cancel out the placebo effect. Outcome studies from the homeopathic hospitals show a high percentage of patients improving their main condition and overall wellbeing. Homeopathy can be safely combined with other treatments, and has massive potential to reduce NHS costs: the total expenditure on NHS homeopathy is less than a thousandth of 1 per cent of the NHS budget. So let’s stop this polarised argument, and discuss the responsible integration of different treatments to save money and help more patients.
Turning to todays 'contributions'The Times Letters May 26 2012
Lets be honest: its not ethical to give a placebo
Should the NHS Fund alternative medicine such as homeopathic remedies?
Sir, Dr Michael Dixons letter (May 21) is fascinating.....Prescribing of medicines that contains no active ingredient involves lying to patients. That is old-fashioned and unethical.......Psycho-social problems may indeed be very important to some patients. But deceiving such patients with dummy pills is not the proper way to deal with their problems."
D Colquhoun, FRS
Professor of Pharmacology
University College of London
Sir, Dr Michael Dixon argues that the NHS should fund placebo treatments such as homeopathy.....public policy demands that the NHS spends its resources only on treatments which work without deception in a cost effective way.
Dr Evan Harris
Essentia (latin for being) says
"Follow the money gentlemen!"
This lobby are prepared to attack patient choice, medical choice, patient care, the monarchy and religion as well as belief of any kind. It is prepared to deploy any argument and ignore and evidence to the contrary of its views. Even so 200,000 patients a year in general practice and 40,000 in hospital still receive care which conventional treatment is too toxic or ineffective to deliver.
What makes me mad is this is down on nearly 1m homeopathic interventions of the NHS's 16m total interventions a decade ago. Thats a lot of people suffering in silence and the work of generations of homeopathic doctors going to waste. Or looked at another way 800,000 more interventions for the drug therapists and their feeders. These gentlemen have nothing to be proud of.