MP David Tredinnick has tabled an Early Day Motion for MPs to sign in support of The Homeopathic Research Institutes campaign to promote more research into homeopathy.
I have already spelled out in some detail why such research would be deeply unethical: firstly, we already know with a very high degree of certainty that homeopathy is a superstitious form of medical treatment that is completely ineffective; and secondly, research is supposed to help inform treatment choices – and homeopaths have never changed their approach as a result of any clinical research – and more research is unlikely to make them start incorporating evidence into their belief system.
The full text if his EDM is as follows:
That this House welcomes the campaign by the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) to place homeopathy research on the national agenda as a credible scientific field of inquiry; notes that the HRI is an innovative charity that does not promote the practice of homeopathy itself, but rather promotes and facilitates scientific research into homeopathy,of which the most controversial aspect is the use of highly diluted medicines; acknowledges that, in the UK, the practice of homeopathy has been part of the National Health Service (NHS) since its inception, and since that time homeopathic medicines have been prescribable to patients; observes that the Faculty of Homeopathy Act 1950 states that the public has access to homeopathy under the NHS so long as patients demand it and doctors are trained to provide it; and calls on the Government to facilitate research into this important area to ascertain the effectiveness of homeopathy.
Tredinnick asserts a common myth in the homeopathic world that somehow the NHS has a duty to provide homeopathic services as part of its incorporation. Tredinnick explicitly states that the Faculty of Homeopathy Act 1950 explicitly has requirements in it to ensure that that the NHS provides for public demand.
Except that this is simply not true.
Liberal democrat MP Julian Huppert has written a much needed amendment to this misleading EDM as follows:
leave out from `House’ to end and add `notes that organisations such as the Homeopathy Research Institute are free to conduct their own scientific studies, if in accordance with ethical frameworks, but that they should be performed rigorously and avoid poor statistics, confirmation bias and other flaws that have plagued some studies; agrees with the conclusions of the Science and Technology Select Committee’s Fourth Report of Session 2009-10, Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy, HC 45, that putting patients through pointless further clinical trials, and the spending of scarce public sector funds on research into homeopathy cannot be justified; observes that the Faculty of Homeopathy Act 1950 does not state that “the public has access to homeopathy under the NHS so long as patients demand it and doctors are trained to provide it”, but highlights that documents from the Faculty must specifically carry a disclaimer that they do not provide a legal qualification to practice homeopathy and is not sanctioned by Government; further notes that millions of pounds each year of NHS resources are spent on homeopathic treatments that have no evidence of clinical effect; and accepts that people are entitled to spend their own money as they see fit, but calls on the Government to stop funding homeopathic treatments and hospitals using public funds.’.
Huppert is quite right. The Faculty of Homeopathy Act 1950 is a dreadfully dull document that describes what the Faculty should do and what sorts of committees and structures it should take.
The act is quite explicit in ensuring that the any diploma issued by the Faculty has no authority beyond that of the Faculty itself,
Provided that every diploma certificate or other recognition granted independently by the Faculty shall contain on the face of it a statement to the effect that it does not of itself confer or purport to confer any legal qualification to practise homoeopathy and that it is not issued under or in pursuance or by virtue of any government sanction or authority but that it is issued by the authority of the Faculty only;
There is no mention in the Act of any requirement for the NHS to meet any demand for homeopathy. It is a figment of homeopaths’ sense of entitlement.
It is absurd to think that any sort of medical treatment has an automatic right to be provisioned in a public health service, especially by statute. Treatments should be judged on the merits of the evidence to support what they claim to do. For homeopathy, we know it is just the theatrical prescription of sugar pills.
I would suggest you ask your MP to make sure they sign Huppert’s amendment and ensure they do not put their name to the ‘idiot list’ that this EDM surely is.
You can do so easily here: http://www.writetothem.com
It looks as if David Tredinnick has now pulled this EDM.
So, for the record, here is a list of all the MPs who thought long and hard about this and put their names to this piece of idiocy: