Homeopathy Petition Response

A year ago, the House of Commons science and technology committee published the results of its evidence check on homeopathy. The committee’s findings were unequivocal and the report strongly recommended against the NHS continuing to waste money on treatments that did nothing. Soon after that I set up a petition asking the government to implement the recommendations of the report.

The petition received over 1600 signatures before the petition site was suspended for last year’s general election. And when the election was over and we finally got our new government they announced that the petition site would be closed down. They also said that any petition that had been signed by 500 people would receive a response from the government.

Whilst I waited for my response, it became obvious what it would be as the new government published their response to the report. The response pretty much ignored any of the committee’s findings and made it clear that the NHS would be free to continue wasting money on magic water. A clear indication of this government’s commitment to evidence-based policy making.

Yesterday the government finally emailed the petition’s signatories with its response. There’s nothing surprising there. They just reaffirm that the NHS will continue to waste this money. It’s all very disappointing but not very surprising.

The response includes a link to this page which it claims explains the government’s decision in more detail. Unfortunately that’s a link to a completely unrelated page. I think they probably meant to link to this page instead.

So, no change. This government is still happy to waste NHS money on ridiculous treatments and the new government has just as much trouble understanding scientific evidence as the previous one did.

4 thoughts on “Homeopathy Petition Response

  1. Hi Dave,

    As one of the signatories to your petition, I was pretty shocked at them linking to an apparently irrelevant response, but I didn’t have time to go digging. What saddens me is that this really does indicate the decline in science in society. The “controversy” over homeopathy is really, in many ways, no different to the “controversy” that exists over evolution and its teaching in schools. I keep muttering about the idea that at some point I’ll set up a forum to persuade schools to teach the “controversy” over Newton’s Laws of Motion, and the alternate theory of God’s Laws of Movement (an object moves because God wills it). It really does concern me that we’re really seeing the decline and fall of Western Society, right before our very eyes.

    There’s a fair part of that response which basically says “it’s not up to the Department of Health to make that kind of decision”, which, to some extent, I can respect, but at the same time one has to then ask what the Department of Health actually *does*. A separate bit suggests that “patient choice” is most important, an obviously Tory policy, ignoring the informedness of said choice. If things are labelled as “tested” with “by magic” in tiny print, then of course patients are going to assume something different. I’m also, at a loss to really understand how someone who’s undergone 7 years of intensive scientific training to become a doctor, and many more years before that can even remotely suggest that this stuff works.

    Cheers

    MBM

    1. I keep muttering about the idea that at some point I’ll set up a forum to persuade schools to teach the “controversy” over Newton’s Laws of Motion, and the alternate theory of God’s Laws of Movement (an object moves because God wills it).

      Have you seen the Teach The Controversy t-shirts? I think they make this point really well.

  2. I too was a signatory to the petition. I am utterly depressed at the level of ignorance within society and the government about what constitutes good science. What can be done when even educated people do not grasp the basics of scientific theory? I work as a biomedical scienctist and even some of my colleagues think that there is truth in this homeopathic nonsense. Matthew is right. We the tax payer will be sponsoring shamanism as a choice on the NHS because some idiot says it works for them. I despair.

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