Memorandum submitted by David Tredinnick
MP, Chairman, Parliamentary Group for Integrated and Complementary
Healthcare (HO 46)
We spoke briefly at the end of the Science and Technology
Committee's Evidence Check on Homeopathy this morning, which I
attended in full. I raised a number of concerns with you and am
now writing formally as Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for
Integrated and Complementary Healthcare (PGICH), formerly Parliamentary
Group for Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
I discussed this morning's proceedings at a special
meeting of the PGICH following our AGM this afternoon with Lord
Colwyn and Alan Simpson. Lord Colwyn sat on the original House
of Lords Science and Technology Committee that looked at Complementary
and Alternative Medicine in 2000.
I have the following comments.
Only one doctor using homeopathy gave oral evidence,
and none are scheduled for Monday. No doctors using homeopathy
in a primary care setting have been asked. Dr David Reilly from
the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital is regarded as a leading expert
on this subject and should have been called. In addition, the
Society of Homeopaths, which was discussed both directly and indirectly
as the principal organisation representing non-medical homeopaths,
should have had the opportunity to put its views forward. I believe
that the Committee should have ensured that all the experts in
this field were given the opportunity to give oral evidence.
2. EVIDENCE FROM
The Managing Director of Sense about Science,
an organisation whose actions over a number of years has caused
much harm to homeopathy in the UK, was invited to give evidence.
The result of this organisation's actions has been the closure
of courses, the closure of a very good hospital in Kent and withdrawal
of NHS contracts following a letter sent to all PCT Chairmen on
headed notepaper purporting to have come from the Department of
Health instructing them not to commission homeopathic services.
The Minister Gillian Merron said in her response to my adjournment
debate on 14 October on Complementary and Alternative Medicine
that "The hon. Gentleman raised concerns about a document
recommending disinvestment from homeopathy, which was circulated
using the NHS logo. I can confirm that our inquiries found no
record of the Department having authorised the use of the NHS
logo and that those who originated the document were asked not
to circulate it any further. They were advised about the use of
the logo in future and chief executives of trusts were also informed
that the document does not represent Government policy."
Sense about Science is an organisation that does
not have anyone on their list of advisors who has any expert knowledge
in this field.
Robert Wilson referred to the fact that other
dilute preparations were now being recognised. It is quite likely
that science will in the near future adjust its views to take
account of this change, in which case the evidence presented by
Sense about Science will be dated. It is the role of scientists
to push back the frontiers of current knowledge, not to curtail
It was clear from the evidence put forward that
France and Germany are far more advanced in their inclusion of
homeopathy within their respective health systems, as usage is
significantly more widespread. In addition, in India, for example,
homeopathy can be traced back as early as 1810. The Homeopathic
hospitals in Calcutta were famous for the treatment of intractable
diseases. The success of controlling epidemics like Cholera helped
its acceptance in other parts of the country. During the course
of its development in India, it has gained substantial governmental
patronage and has a vast infrastructure. It is one of the medical
systems recognized by the Government of India. In 2002 a National
Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy was formulated
and in 2003 there was a Department of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani,
Yoga & Naturopathy and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
On such an important enquiry for the future of homeopathy
in the UK the Committee must consider evidence from abroad where
Much of the discussion this morning was about
the use and effectiveness of over the counter remedies in Boots
and other chemists. This ignored the fact that qualified homeopaths
when consulted prescribe a much wider range of homeopathic remedies
and in doses well above the 6c and 30c available in chemists.
Regularly they would prescribe in 200c or 1m for a constitutional
6. IMPACT OF
The Committee should be aware that there are
many within the orthodox medical profession and elsewhere in the
UK that believe that homeopathy has no place in healthcare provision.
These people make concerted efforts to discredit it and stop it
from being commissioned. A negative outcome would give ammunition
to those who seek to discredit it, and the Committee therefore
has a duty to ensure that this Evidence Check is thorough and
independent. I would suspect that detractors will have no hesitation
in forwarding any report produced by this Committee to PCT Commissioners
urging them to no longer commission services based on the findings.
Dr Evan Harris already suggested at the session that the report
produced by NHS Kent West regarding its decision to close the
Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital be circulated by the Department
of Health to all other Health Authorities. This is the type of
climate that homeopathy faces in the UK.
You will be aware that there is a huge difference
between there being no evidence of efficacy and there not being
sufficient evidence to determine efficacy. The Committee needs
to look carefully at this.
I urge you to take these points into consideration
in your deliberations.
David Tredinnick MP
Parliamentary Group for Integrated and Complementary