Peter Hain’s alternative remedy

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.”

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  • joeCanuck

    Couldn’t agree more Pete.
    I do believe that there is a useful role to be played by some alternative therapies – “regular” doctors do not have all the answers.
    But before scare public money is allocated, there does need to be some independent, peer accepted, studies that show that there is a potential benefit.
    And by peer acceptance, I don’t mean that in the narrow sense that other chiropractors, for example, agree with a report by a chiropractor but is accepted by a more widespread group of medical practitioners.

  • carlosblancos

    shows detail of the WHO study on the positive effects of acupuncture. Not sure about homeopathy.

  • Pete Baker


    That link references a list drawn up by WHO in 1979.. and uses language which is distinctly ambiguous

    “The World Health organization Interregional Seminar drew up the following provisional list of diseases that lend themselves to acupuncture treatment. The list is based on clinical experience, and not necessarily on controlled clinical research: furthermore, the inclusion of specific diseases are not meant to indicate the extent of acupuncture’s efficacy in treating them.”

  • Pete Baker

    One other point to note about that link, carlos..

    “The American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) was formed in 1981 to be the unifying force for American acupuncturists ..”

    So, clearly a reliable and independent source then..

  • heck

    what nonsense. The taxpayer should’nt have to pay for junk science and junk medicine. If people want this stuff then they should pay themselves.

    I can just imagine –the new male contraceptive-acupuncture