Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Homeopathy on the NHS

Justifying the £4m - £12m spent annually by the NHS on Homeopathy, Dr Sarah Eames claimed it worth it on the basis of 'positive patient outcomes'. Now given that Homeopathic remedies can have no physical effect whatsoever, any statistically significant patient outcomes must be down to the power of mind over body, or the benefits of positive thinking. And if Homeopathy, then why not Crystal Healing, Shamanism, and the people who tinkle little bells over the unwell? In fact, why not do away with conventional medicine altogether and administer cheap chalk placebos to the ill?

The earliest Christian doctors - monks and friars - fortified by arab scholarship soon learned that faith and waiting for God were not enough, and that the scalpel and Henbane could achieve so much more. By all means let cranks of all varieties do their good for the sick, let's have Nigerian tribal fetishes set up on the nursing stations and Dayak hermaphrodites doing the frog-spirit dance in the aisles, let's have joss sticks, tinkling bells and glittery crystals hanging from the light fittings, but for goodness sake let's not waste money on it. The perpetrators should do their thing for free - and be grateful they're given access to ward-fulls of sick people to play with.

13 comments:

Scrobs... said...

They can do what they like, as long as they don't give me a Hemlock tincture, or a few Deadly Nightshade berries...

visceral said...

Interesting, is it homeopathy you object to or as you see it the waste of money?

If the former it appears you have listened to the current metrolpolitan mean drone, if the latter I'd worry about SSRI's (such as Prozac with spend at over £3bn+ a year) rather than £4m which isnt even a balancing item in terms of budgets.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, homoeopathic medicine is only a small part of the lives that those who follow homoeopathy lead. They use them as an additional element to an already healthy life-style, and as visceral points out, the cost is low enough to be considered negligible.

Homeoeopathic remedies are reported to have worked on pets so perhaps we are still unaware of how they might work, if indeed they do.

Much more money is spent keeping people alive on dialysis when there is no cure for renal failure and little prospect of life for those receiving dialysis.

I am sure other examples could be produced too.

English Pensioner said...

Personally I believe that hypnotism, or hypnotherapy as I believe they call it, would be of far more use.

G. Tingey said...

I'm not sure which is worse, this shamanistic wo-woo, deluding people & possiblly actively harming them ...
OR
Doctors & Pharmacists, on the NHS payrool, rfusing perfectly valis & useful treatments, because of their belief in BigSkyFairy.

( RC's refusing birth control. even to married couples, whilst taking the taxpayer's money )

Demetrius said...

Joss sticks, alas, put toxic particles into the air, notably in enclosed spaces. Also, some chemically treated to enhance the scent can be even worse. If affected medical treatment may well be necessary.

Blue Eyes said...

I object to this for two reasons:

1. Because homeopathy is obviously hokem and therefore should not be available at taxpayers' expense.

2. Because it lends credibility to fraudulent pseudo-medical ideas.

Admittedly, much modern medicine is to do with the placebo effect and return to mean anyway, but let's not go wild about curing cancer with little bottles of pure water.

For a little bit of light relief, see if you can find the homeopathic A&E sketch from a while back.

Bill said...

There should be a review and change in the dietitians and nutritionists methods in the NHS.
Most of them don't have a clue.

strawbrick said...

I used to be very sceptical about homoeopathy ...

For many years I have suffered from cold sores(Herpes) at the corners of my mouth. It usually arrives if I am very tired or feel run-down, hardly ever when I have a cold. Over the years the area of inflammation gradually got bigger and crusted more often. My wife is a " believer" and suggested that I take Nat Mur tablets the next time I felt a "twinge", the usual signal that an attack was on it's way.
I did the. attack stopped and the sore did not start.
Nat Mur has worked many times since and I only get a sore if I do not start taking the tablets when I get the "twinge". Interestingly, I now get the twinge at the bottom of my nostril rather than at the corner of my mouth.
So, for whatever reason, this form of homoeopathy works for me.
If you have ever had a crusted cold sore you will appreciate how much that means to me!

Ed P said...

strawbrick:
Do you prefer to think it's your wife's belief, or your own sort-of borrowed trust that's making the difference?

Blue Eyes said...

Quick google reveals that natrum mur is watered down sodium chloride.

James Higham said...

Bring back the henbane.

visceral said...

For those of you actually interested in debate rather than facile name calling,have a look at this.

http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e6184/rr/642461