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NHS England address ‘serious concerns’ over potential homeopathy reaccreditation

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has written to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) over concerns about the re-accreditation of the UK’s largest group of registered homeopaths. 

In a joint letter alongside NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis, Mr Stevens articulated ‘serious concerns’ about the Society of Homeopaths’ focus. 

GPs were recommended in 2017 by NHS England to stop providing homeopathy to the public, with senior figures in the healthcare service disregarding it due to the lack of ‘good-quality evidence’ that it effectively treated any health condition. 

The letter, addressing the PSA’s chief executive Alan Clamp, also blamed homeopathy for apparently promoting some of the ‘rise of misinformation about vaccines’, and said the alternative remedies had a ‘fundamentally flawed’ basis of practice and contributed to posing a ‘significant danger to human health’.

The letter, in response to a consultation on the Society of Homeopaths’ reaccreditation, said: ‘It is difficult to see how the Society of Homeopaths can inspire public confidence, when the position of both the NHS and NICE, whose statutory duty it is to protect patients and the public by ensuring treatments are effective, have a firm and evidence-based position that homeopathy should not be recommended to the public’.

The Good Thinking Society, a not-for-profit ‘battling against pseudoscience’ brought a judicial review against the decision to reaccredit in 2019, and were granted permission from the High Court to have the case heard. 

Michael Marshall, project director at the Good Thinking Society, told Pulse: ‘The PSA urges the public to choose practitioners who are part of its accredited register – that is because PSA accreditation is meant to be a kitemark, and a sign that standards of regulation are met.

‘However, desperate parents will continue to be misled, and vulnerable autistic children will continue to be put at risk as long as the PSA’s accredited register contains organisations whose members claim that vaccines are dangerous.’

A spokesperson for the Society of Homeopaths declined to comment due to the forthcoming judicial review. 

Earlier this year, NHS England announced ambitions to ‘formally request’ that the Government ban GPs from prescribing homeopathy.

It also commissioned an additional review on evidence from the Specialist Pharmacy Service, which declared no robust evidence base, including internationally, to support usage of homeopathy.

Last year, the High Court rejected a legal challenge by the British Homeopathic Association to overturn plans for the NHS to no longer routinely fund homeopathy. Simon Stevens responded by deeming the legal challenge ‘costly and spurious’, and homeopathy a ‘misuse of scarce NHS funds’.