Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Patient Choice, David Cameron, and the Government

People who use homeopathy usually like it. People who use homeopathy after years, sometimes decades of conventional treatment, usually love homeopathy! And sometimes, even people not associated with homeopathy are discovered to be 'fans'.

David Cameron is the latest to express his views on the value and benefit of homeopathy. Whilst defending NHS reforms on Channel 4, he said this:

"I’m going to sound like a homeopath but this is like looking at the whole of the patient."

Well, this is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but at least he knows something about homeopathy - that it seeks to treat 'the whole person' rather than dealing with its parts. And, of course the last two governments have refused to stop homeopathy being provided on the NHS - despite the pressures from the conventional medical establishment to get rid of its competition in this way!

However, the problem with the government's 'Patient Choice' policy is that it has no means of implementing it. "No decision about me without me" is a great slogan; but it is entirely worthless if patients have no means of accessing the treatment they wish to have - and for growing numbers of people it is homeopathy.

The policy will not be implemented whilst the government supports the concept of 'localism', and giving local 'clinicians' the power to allow, and disallow treatments like homeopathy. The problem is that most of these local clinicians are conventional medics; and they dominate GP surgeries, and local PCTs. So if Marjorie Titchen, or I, or my son, or anyone else, wants homeopathy on the National Health Service, we get the answer 'No'. The conventional medical establishment is supporting the virtual monopoly in health provision with the NHS - and seeking to rid itself of alternative treatments.

So thanks for your support, Prime Minister; but we would now like to see some action from your government in support of your 'Patient Choice' policy.

The disinformation that is being spread about homeopathy, by the conventional medical establishment, is not bearing fruit. Instead, homeopathy and other CAM therapies are growing in popularity. This increasing popularity is, in fact, as much to do with the failure of conventional, drug-based medicine as it is with the safety and effectiveness of homeopathy. So people hear the disinformation, and ignore it. They do so in much the same way that two governments have ignored the House of Commons Committee that told the government it should no longer fund homeopathy. The committee's report was signed off by just 3 MP's, and after being presented with considerable scientific evidence in support of homeopathy, they were still able to claim "there is no evidence for homeopathy".

Supporting the ConMed Establishment, and Big Pharma in this disinformation campaign is the mainstream media. The popularity of the media is now at an all-time low. Little wonder, given that on most, if not all issues, the media simply supports the position of Big Business. For instance, they acclaim every new Big Pharma drug as breakthroughs and miracles. And then fail to report on drugs that kill, or cause disease, or are just totally ineffective. So as far as the 'Patient Choice' agenda is concerned, the media does not appear to realise that there is a health monopoly within the NHS; or that the rights of patients who want 'alternative' treatment is being trampled on. Where is their commitment to the public?

The action needed to make 'Patient Choice' a reality is quite simple. Every PCT, every Commissioning organisation, or every GP surgery, should be required to employ someone who is prepared to refer patients for homeopathy, and other CAM treatments. There are no cost implications in doing so. Homeopathic treatment is eminently less expensive than conventional, drug based medicine; it works so there are fewer 'return' patients; and it does not create chronic disease.

If David Cameron wants to treat the public 'holistically' this is one simple action that is well within his grasp.

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