For my Extended Project Qualification I chose to research into Homeopathy and its place within the NHS. I felt this was a suitable topic as I found Homeopathy very interesting as it is such a well-known and widely used alternative medical practice, and one of the few that is funded by the NHS and has had a place in medicine for hundreds of years. At a time of budget cuts across the board, NHS horror stories and reforms for the NHS, the question of Homeopathy’s place in the NHS is at its greatest importance. The NHS’ integrity has been seen to be falling apart under recent years, so the funding of Homeopathy should be reconsidered to see whether it is just another mistake of funding from the NHS. Even though the NHS funds a tiny amount of money to Homeopathic remedies, and a larger amount to the Homeopathic Hospitals, the NHS still must consider all of their money and use it in the most cost-effective way possible. My first aim of this project was to analyse evidence about the effectiveness of Homeopathy, to determine whether it has a physiological effect on the body past the placebo effect. I wanted to determine if homeopathy didn’t actually work did it still have a use in the NHS, as it may improve patient satisfaction and could improve their health? Is it ethical for Doctors to prescribe homeopathic remedies if they do not actually work that are purely placebos? What is the public and professional opinion on Homeopathy? Finally after finding all this evidence should Homeopathy actually be funded by the NHS? Homeopathy is a form of alternative medical practice that involves much diluted substances being used to stimulate the body’s healing process. (Society of Homeopaths, 2013)The NHS has funded and referred patients (British Homeopathic Association, 2014) for homeopathy treatment since the start of the NHS in 1948 (NHS England, 2013) and spends approximately £ 4 million a year providing homeopathic treatments to patients (British Homeopathic Association, 2014) . There are currently three homeopathic hospitals in the UK, numerous homeopathic clinics and also GPSs in some Primary Care Trusts allow GPs to prescribe homeopathy as part of a treatment programme. The government do not have a clear stance on homeopathy, even though in 2010 the House of Commons Science and technology committee proceeded with an evidence check on homeopathy a group of trusted scientists and experts determined that the NHS should not be funding homeopathy. However the government decided that it is up to Primary care trusts to determine whether or not they will fund this alternative medicine, in 2011 it was determined that approximately 31% of Primary Care Trusts funded homeopathy. (BBC, 2011) What is Homeopathy and how could it work?
Homeopathy is a form of complementary and alternative medicine, which is defined as treatments that are not considered to be part of conventional health care systems. (National Centre for complementary and alternative therapy, 2014)Homeopathy originated from the mind of Dr Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), he proposed a variety of principles for homeopathy that stemmed from his own research into effective drugs at the time; Hahnemann was a dissatisfied doctor in his time and turned away from conventional medicine as he felt it caused more harm than good .Hahnemann after acquiring a paper on the effect of quinine or Peruvian Bark on the treatment of Malaria, decided to take a dose of the drug himself and found that it caused similar symptoms to Malaria itself. (Elliott, 2005)He experimented more and developed the principle of similarity, this states that substances that cause certain symptoms in a healthy person will treat the symptoms in an ill person so like cures like. (Frederick Schroyens, 2014) There is also the principle of minimum dose which states that the smallest possible dose produces the most beneficial effect so homeopathic remedies should be very diluted, as if the remedy was undiluted it...
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