NHS homoeopathy funding probe pledge to MPs

November 13, 2008

The Government's chief scientific adviser has said he sees "no scientific evidence" that homoeopathy works, and has agreed to look into its funding as a treatment on the National Health Service.

John Beddington, who also heads the Government Office for Science (GO-Science), made the commitment to MPs during a hearing of the Commons Universities Select Committee last week.

The MPs said that continued NHS funding of homoeopathy called into doubt the Government's commitment to "evidence-based" policy, as it had not been raised as a concern during a recent review of the Department of Heath (DoH) by Professor Beddington's office.

Professor Beddington said he had not personally looked at the issue, but added: "I see no scientific evidence that (homoeopathy) works."

He agreed to look at the policy and come back to the committee.

Committee chairman Phil Willis said it was an "important issue" that went right to the heart of how government used science to inform its policymaking.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Evan Harris told Times Higher Education that he was "disappointed" that the issue had not been raised in the health review. "It suggests that either (John Beddington) is not that interested in evidence-based healthcare - which I think he should be - or GO-Science is not that keen to criticise government departments publicly."

The report from GO-Science concluded that the DoH "demonstrates good practice" in the way it commissions, manages and uses science and that other government departments could usefully copy it.

• Acupuncture has received a boost to its scientific credibility from the BMJ Group. The publishers of BMJ announced this week that it would publish a medical journal on acupuncture from next year. Acupuncture in Medicine will be the group's first complementary medicine title, formerly published by the British Medical Acupuncture Society.

zoe.corbyn@tsleducation.com.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

Woman tearing up I can't sign

Schools and universities are increasingly looking at how improving personalities can boost social mobility. But in doing so, they may be forced to choose between teaching what is helpful, and what is true, says David Matthews

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education

Door peephole painted as bomb ready to explode

It’s time to use technology to detect potential threats and worry less about outdated ideas of privacy, says Ron Iphofen