Memorandum submitted by the British Medical
Association (BMA) (HO 55)
I note that the Science and Technology Committee's
evidence check on homeopathic remedies is drawing to a conclusion
and I thought that the Committee might be interested in the British
Medical Association's (BMA) view on this issue. I wanted to inform
the Committee that we have long been concerned about the use of
complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) and over the last
20 years the BMA's Board of Science has worked extensively to
develop BMA policy on CAM.
Our policy development has focussed on the discrete
therapies which have established training programmes, criteria
of competence, professional standards and the potential for use
alongside orthodox medical care. Doctors have a duty to safeguard
public health and BMA policy has therefore focused on the principles
of good practice in CAM which would safeguard the individual against
possible harm to health and maximise the potential benefits of
particular CAM methods.
As you may be aware, the popularity of CAM has led
to greater demand for CAM on the NHS. This has coincided with
changes in healthcare provision which aim to facilitate greater
patient choice. Research into the efficacy of CAM however has
raised questions about the use of NHS resources for such provision.
As such our members would be supportive of a call in the Committee's
final report to request that NICE review and report on the cost
effectiveness of homoeopathic remedies and for NICE to recommend
whether they should continue to be funded by the NHS.
I hope that you find this useful.
Professor Sir Ken Calman
Board of Science