NHS chiefs attempt to blacklist homeopathy amid anti-vax fearsMegan Orito
NHS chiefs attempt to blacklist homeopathy amid anti-vax fears.
NHS leaders have gone to war on homeopathy by attempting to have the practice blacklisted amid fears it is fuelling anti-vax propaganda.
The chief executive and medical director of NHS England have written to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), the statutory body that oversees healthcare regulation, urging it to strip accreditation from the Society of Homeopaths (SoH).
They argue that endorsing the society affords it a “veneer of credibility” that lures vulnerable patients towards “bogus treatments”.
In particular, the health chiefs accuse homeopaths of propagating “misinformation” about vaccines.
It follows the release of a major report last week which showed the uptake of pre-school vaccines is declining.
The SoH is the professional body of around 1,000 registered homeopaths, imposing a code of conduct and setting educational standards.
In April the PSA controversially renewed the society’s accreditation, despite accusations that its rules are not sufficiently strict to prevent members touting “cures” for autism.
The decision has provoked a judicial review action from the Good Thinking Society, an “anti-quack” pressure group, which is expected to be heard in the coming weeks.
Homeopathy on the NHS was banned completely in 2017.
Mr Stevens said last night: “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 which at best do nothing, and at worst can be potentially dangerous.
“Whether touted as a miracle cure or as protection from serious diseases – like so-called homeopathic vaccines – homeopathy is no replacement for rigorously tried and tested medical treatments delivered or prescribed by properly-qualified professionals, and by stopping people seeking expert help, misinformation and ineffective remedies pose a significant risk to people’s health.”
4 common homeopathic remedies
Allium Cepa (onion): As onions are known to make your eyes and nose runny, they are used in the treatment of hay fever and common colds in homeopathy.
Nux Vomica (poison nut): A toxic substance found in the seeds of the poison-nut tree, too much Nux Vomica can cause liver failure. It is used in the treatment of male impotence and hangovers.
Rhus Tox (poison ivy): This poisonous plant is known for growing everywhere – up walls and trees or across the uncovered ground. This restless characteristic makes it a commonly proposed remedy among those suffering from restlessness and joint pain.
Chamomilla (chamomille): A commonly used homeopathic treatment in subduing restless children.
Of particular concern to critics is the SoH’s position on so-called “CEASE” therapy – standing for “Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression” – unproven treatments that falsely imply there is a cure for autism.
Unproven treatments for autism are often promoted hand-in-hand with the disproven allegation that traditional vaccines cause the disorder.
A carefully worded position statement on the society’s website says members may refer to CEASE in their marketing but must not tell patients they are able to cure autism.
Michael Marshall, from the Good Thinking Society, said: “Members of the Society of Homeopaths are offering CEASE therapy, and in doing so are spreading the false and potentially dangerous notion that vaccines are unsafe, and that autism can be ‘cured’ by alternative medicine.”
The National Audit Office report last week found the NHS is failing to meet its uptake targets for six out of seven key pre-school vaccines.
However, the findings suggest fragmented services and difficulty accessing GPs was at least as much to blame as anti-vax propaganda.
An SoH spokesman said: “The Society of Homeopaths is 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.”
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