Head of NHS England hits out at 'bogus' homeopathy treatments

28 October 2019, 08:40 | Updated: 28 October 2019, 08:44

The NHS says there's no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition
The NHS says there's no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The head of NHS England has expressed "serious concerns" about homeopathy, claiming the practice is "fundamentally flawed."

Simon Stevens has condemned what he calls "bogus treatments" - saying he believes they're no replacement for tried and tested medicines.

In a joint letter to the Professional Standards Authority with Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director, Mr Stevens wrote: “In response to your current consultation, we are writing to register serious concerns about the Professional Standards Authority’s possible reaccreditation of the Society of Homeopaths,” Stevens and Powis said.

“While the Society of Homeopaths may appear to meet some of the PSA’s procedural standards, the basis of their practice remains fundamentally flawed.”

NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens
NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens. Picture: PA

A spokeswoman for the Society of Homeopaths said that it was “continuing to develop and uphold our professional standards, as we have done for the last 40 years. The society does not endorse any aspects of any therapy contrary to NHS guidance, in particular on vaccination.”

Mr Stevens said yesterday: “Anything that gives homeopathy a veneer of credibility risks chancers being able to con more people into parting with their hard-earned cash in return for bogus treatments . . . By stopping people seeking expert help, misinformation and ineffective remedies pose a significant risk to people’s health.”

Homeopathy isn't widely available on the NHS. In 2017, NHS England recommended that GPs and other prescribers should stop providing it.
Homeopathy isn't widely available on the NHS. In 2017, NHS England recommended that GPs and other prescribers should stop providing it. Picture: PA

The NHS website warns that homoeopathy is a "treatment" based on the use of highly diluted substances, which practitioners claim can cause the body to heal itself.

A 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy said that homoeopathic remedies perform no better than placebos (dummy treatments).

The review also said that the principles on which homeopathy is based are "scientifically implausible".

The NHS website says this is also the view of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies.

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