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article imageDoctors’ body hears claim that homeopathy is ‘witchcraft’

By Andrew John     May 16, 2010 in Health
Britain’s main doctors’ body, the British Medical Association (BMA), has heard homeopathy likened to witchcraft. And members say taxpayers should not have to pay for remedies used on the National Health Service (NHS).
They’ve passed a motion denouncing its use, saying it has no scientific basis.
It’s not the first time the BMA has expressed scepticism about homoeopathy. It has previously argued that the rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) should examine the evidence base and make a definitive ruling about the use of the remedies in the NHS.
Now, the annual conference of junior doctors within the BMA has voted overwhelmingly for a blanket ban, and wants to see an end to all placements for trainee doctors that teach them homeopathic principles.
Britain’s Telegraph quotes Dr Tom Dolphin, deputy chairman of the BMA’s junior doctors’ committee in England. He told the conference: “Homeopathy is witchcraft. It is a disgrace that nestling between the National Hospital for Neurology and Great Ormond Street [in London] there is a National Hospital for Homeopathy which is paid for by the NHS.”
Cause is cure
Homeopathy was devised in the 18th century by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. It is based on a theory that substances that cause symptoms in a healthy person can, when vastly diluted, cure the same problems in a sick person.
“Proponents say the resulting remedy retains a ‘memory’ of the original ingredient – a concept dismissed by scientists,” says the Telegraph.
The paper cites a survey carried out at England’s NHS homeopathic hospitals, which found that 70 per cent of patients said they felt some improvement after undergoing treatment.
It quotes Crystal Sumner, chief executive of the British Homeopathic Association, who said attempts to stop the NHS funding alternative medicines ignored the views of the public, especially patients with chronic conditions.
“Homeopathy helps thousands of people who are not helped by conventional care. We don’t want it to be a substitute for mainstream care, but, when people are thinking about making cuts to funding, I think they need to consider public satisfaction, and see that homoeopathy has a place in medicine.”
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