Update: Scroll down for the reply from Greg Hands.
Dear Mr Hands,
In 2007 you were a signatory to EDM 1240, effectively promoting the continued use and dissemination of useless interventions and poor medical advice.
Given the recent trend in the NHS to move away from homeopathy and the ever-rising mountain of strong, scientific evidence pointing to homeopathy’s uselessness as a genuine medical treatment do you accept that it was wrong of you to declare your support for a placebo treatment which has been shown in the past to do harm to patients who fall under its spell?
Further, will you stand up in the House of Commons and question the validity of the continued funding of homeopathy on the NHS when it would be better to move funding toward allowing doctor’s to spend more time consulting their patients so that the placebo effect experienced in a homeopathic consultation can be a part of a genuine medical treatment?
I implore you to consider the negative effects phoney alternative treatments are having on the minds and bodies of the people of Britain. These multi-billion pound industries only serve to undermine good, solid, scientific medical advice that so many of our great researchers have strived to discover.
Finally, will you bring to light for all your constituents and every critical thinking person in Britain the e-petition calling for a parliamentary discussion on removing NHS funding for homeopathy?
A concerned constituent,
On the 8th September I received a reply from Greg Hands which I have copied below.
Dear Mr Smith,
Thank you for your letter dated 31 August 2011 about expired EDM 1240 (2006-07 session), which I signed on 16 June 2007. I am not sure why you have waited more than four years to ask about this; for the purpose of symmetry, perhaps it is appropriate to delay a more exhaustive response until November 2015.
Anne Milton, the Public Health Minister, has made clear that decisions on homeopathic treatments are a matter for professionals in the NHS, not the Government. As she recently stated:
‘It is the responsibility of local national health service organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of such treatments, taking account of issues to do with safety, clinical and cost effectiveness and the availability of suitably qualified/regulated practitioners.’
This is in keeping with the Government’s wider policy of devolving responsibility in the NHS to those on the frontline, which presents a substantially altered context within the health service to that of 2007.
Nevertheless, it is good to be reminded occasionally of matters historical.