Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Health Secretary is a fan of homeopathy

Hmmm, so Jeremy Hunt is the new Health Secretary.

And his views on complementary medicine?

Here's the text of an Early Day Motion he signed in 2007:
That this House welcomes the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals; notes that some six million people use complementary treatments each year; believes that complementary medicine has the potential to offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients, including chronic difficult to treat conditions such as musculoskeletal and other chronic pain, eczema, depression, anxiety and insomnia, allergy, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome; expresses concern that NHS cuts are threatening the future of these hospitals; and calls on the Government actively to support these valuable national assets.

Many people seem to get very animated aboutthe subject of homeopathy, either with wild excitement about the seemingly amazing improvement in their symptoms after homeopathic treatment or with a dose of wild apoplexy triggered by... well what is it exactly? Is it a fear that homeopathy might actually work despite the apparent nonsense of increasing potency with increasing dilution?

Across the world there are millions of people who feel better after being prescribed homeopathic remedies. In India, for example, over 100 million people use homeopathy as their sole method of healthcare, but despite that, the 'anti' brigade still argue that it's all about the placebo effect and is a massive delusion. But I'm a big fan of the placebo effect: if someone has the temerity to feel better, that's fine by me.

We use homeopathy alongside conventional medicine because there are times when our patients show changes and improvements in their health with homeopathic treatment. And now at last the Health Secretary, charged with the task of sorting out the NHS, seems to be relatively open-minded on the subject.

Watch this space...

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