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GPs call for end of NHS homeopathy



By Richard Staines

Exclusive: The NHS should no longer provide funding for homeopathy, GPs have told a major Pulse survey.

Of nearly 800 GPs who have responded so far to Pulse’s pre-election survey, 80% said the Department of Health should not continue funding for homeopathy.

Last week, the BMA attacked controversial plans to allow patients to pay for services such as homeopathy as part of the personal-budgets pilots.

Dr Peter Davies, a GP from Halifax, said he was not against homeopathy per se, but that there was no evidence to justify funding it with public money.

He told Pulse: ‘My feeling is that it is not an evidence-based treatment. But if patients want to try homeopathy and pay for it themselves, that is fine.’

‘In terms of evidence-based medicine, homeopathy doesn’t get a look in. It is something the NHS should not fund.’

Dr John Derrick, a GP from Rugby in Warwickshire, said: ‘Things that make people feel better because of a placebo are fine if they are cheap – but not if they are going to cost vast amounts.’

In 2008 it emerged that the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was under threat after eight PCTs withdrew contracts. Referrals had fallen by 20% in a year.

A Department of Health Spokesperson said:

‘It is the responsibility of the local NHS to commission services that best meet the needs of their patients, including complementary and alternative health therapies.

‘We would expect the local NHS as well as any clinician referring a patient for complementary therapy to take account of safety, clinical and cost effectiveness, and the availability of suitably qualified and regulated practitioners.’

80% of GPs said the Department of Health should not continue funding for homeopathy 80% of GPs said the Department of Health should not continue funding for homeopathy