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NHS England expresses concern over accreditation of homeopaths

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has said he is worried that the UK’s largest body of registered homeopaths might again be accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

In a letter to the PSA, dated 22 October 2019, Stevens and Stephen Powis, medical director at NHS England, said they had “serious concerns” about the PSA’s “possible reaccreditation of the Society of Homeopaths”.

The PSA decided in April 2019 that it would reaccredit the society until 9 January 2020.

However, Stevens and Powis said that although the society “may appear to meet some of the PSA’s procedural standards, the basis of their practice remains fundamentally flawed”.

“We understand that it is not the responsibility of the PSA to review evidence on the efficacy of homeopathic remedies,” they said.

“However, it is difficult to see how the Society of Homeopaths can ‘inspire public confidence’ when the position of both the NHS and [The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] — whose statutory duty it is to protect patients and the public by ensuring treatments are effective — have a firm and evidence-based position that homeopathy should not be recommended to the public.”

They added in the letter that their accreditation “is a vital issue at a time when there is a rise of misinformation about vaccines — some of which is apparently promoted by homeopaths — and which poses a significant danger to human health”.

A report from the National Audit Office revealed on 25 October 2019 that the uptake of nearly all pre-school vaccinations in England has declined since 2012/2013.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207259

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