Merseyside Skeptics Society Welcomes New NHS Guidelines on Prescribing Homeopathy

The Independent has today reported that new guidance from NHS England tells doctors to stop prescribing homeopathic ‘medicine’ because “at best, homeopathy is a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds which could better be devoted to treatments that work.”  The draft guidance from NHS England has recommended prescribers in primary care should not “initiate homeopathic items for any new patient” and that Clinical Commissioning Groups should “support prescribers in de-prescribing homeopathic items in all patients” while ensuring  “the availability of relevant services to facilitate this change.”

Since our inception, Merseyside Skeptics has been actively involved in efforts to help patients and consumers recognise that homeopathic products are ineffective,  and therefore both a waste of money, and potentially dangerous if used as an alternative to medicine.  This latest development from NHS England is a step toward removing one of homeopathy’s key claims to legitimacy, that being its availability on prescription from NHS GPs.  We applaud the stance taken by NHS England on this, which follows from the 2010 recommendations by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and a robust assessment of the best available evidence on the use of homeopathy as a medical intervention.

The NHS England consultation document will now be followed up by a public consultation, aimed at reducing NHS prescription costs by weeding out interventions with little or no clinical effectiveness.  Members of the public and other interested parties are invited to put forward their views on this topic in an online survey, which will be available until October 21st.  We urge all of our friends and supporters to participate in this survey, and ensure that a strong skeptical voice is heard, in support of science and evidence-based medicine.

Set up a direct debit with JustGivingMerseyside Skeptics would also like to congratulate our friends at the Good Thinking Society for their hard work and dedication to this cause.  Good Thinking are a small independent charity, but we believe the work they do, both in the promotion of rational inquiry and in compassionate consumer protection, is extremely important.  If you want to see more developments like this one, you can support Good Thinking by making a donation via their website. UK taxpayers are also be given the option to top-up their donation with Gift Aid.

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