The Government’s chief scientific adviser, try Sir John Beddington said this week that ‘patients might believe that homeopathic treatments could protect them against serious illnesses, malady or treat existing conditions, seek because GPs and hospitals are allowed to prescribe them on the NHS.’
Does this really constitute scientific advice? Is it appropriate to make such an authoritarian comment after this issue has been fully debated in Parliament and two successive Governments have given considerable thought to this issue and then expressed very different views to his about NHS homeopathy:
Labour Minister of Health, Mike O’Brien: (Dec 1, 2009) “We take the view that it is not our job to stop clinicians prescribing these medications if they feel they are appropriate… cutting the (NHS) funding would be “illiberal” and “a denial of personal choice”
Coalition Minister of Health, Anne Milton: (July 26, 2010 – the official government decision on the issue) Homeopathy has a “long tradition… and that local National Health Service and clinicians are best placed to make decisions on what treatment is appropriate for their patients”.
Sir John Beddington is not a medical doctor. He is however an internationally renowned specialist in the economics and biology of sustainable management of renewable resources and has previously advised UK ministers on scientific and environmental issues. May I humbly suggest that instead of insulting GPs who choose to send their patients for homeopathic treatment with the full support of this government and the last, he pays some attention to the connection between his specialist field, the environment, and homeopathic medicine.
I recommend he google the words: ‘Sustainability’ ‘Homeopathy’ ‘Environment’. In an excellent article on this, Joel Kreisberg, writes: “In ecological terms, homeopathic remedies never exhaust natural resources; there is negligible environmental impact and no question of over-consumption. Remedies meet the criteria for both renewable and sustainable sources of medicine. Compared to the waste stream produced by pharmacological manufacturing and by hospitals, the waste produced by a homeopathic pharmacy is infinitely small. No waste is produced from the original material; it is all used. And no harmful chemicals or complex reagents are used in the manufacturing process.”
I do not wish to denigrate pharmaceuticals, many of which have tremendous value in medicine. But homeopathy has value too and is clearly also very, very environment friendly.
Ed and Liz discuss this in Episode 3.