If we’re going to spend public funds on providing any treatment through the NHS, and particularly if those treatments are to include acupuncture, aromatherapy and homeopathy, then it should only be on the basis that that treatment has undergone an independently verifiable trial and has been proven to be more effective than a placebo… not on the basis that the Secretary of State for Wales etc, Peter Hain is “certain, as a user of complementary medicine [him]self, that this has the potential to improve health substantially.” Ben? Are you reading this, Ben? [Note to the BBC. That’s not a trial, it’s a £200,000 pilot scheme to be administered by Get Well UK]From the NIO statement
Launching the pilot, Peter Hain said, “This initiative puts Northern Ireland at the forefront within the UK in exploring and delivering a model that genuinely embraces complementary and alternative therapies within mainstream healthcare. By funding such treatment through the NHS it will allow those in need to have it when they could not easily afford it privately.
“It is about giving patients the widest possible choice of safe and effective healthcare. I am certain, as a user of complementary medicine myself, that this has the potential to improve health substantially.
“For the first time, GPs will be able to refer patients directly to a complementary therapist if they feel their patient could benefit from the treatment and indeed if it is the patient’s wish. It will bring together both the mainstream and complementary sectors in what I hope will be the start of a process which will lead to full roll-out across the province.”
The Secretary of State concluded, “This is the first fund of its kind in the UK. I am delighted that Northern Ireland is leading the way in integrating complementary and alternative therapies into the National Health Service.”