To discuss a letter to The Guardian

Given the tiny proportion of the NHS budget allocated for homeopathy, let’s say yes to keeping it in.
Dr Barbara Gwinnett
Wolverhampton

But if we reduce the budget further it will become more effective, won’t it?

As to Dr. Gwinnett’s capabilities in this area:

Dr Barbara Gwinnett, Dean of the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences,

The University has worked closely with the City Council on Fairtrade initiatives and helped Wolverhampton become a Fairtrade city.

Dr Gwinnett is the University’s representative on the Wolverhampton City Fairtrade Partnership and has been instrumental in achieving the status.

22 thoughts on “To discuss a letter to The Guardian”

  1. “Given the tiny number of people not treated for real medical conditions because part of the NHS budget is instead allocated for homeopathy, let’s say yes to keeping it in.”

  2. I walked past the London Homepathic Hospital the other day and thought the same thing: bloody great big building, surely the memory of the building would be more effective?

  3. Having had ‘consultations’ by homeopaths, and indeed have known some of them personally, so being well-disposed towards the whole thing – a sometimes useful placebo, I still can’t fathom why it has an NHS budget. Even as an option of last resort.

  4. One of the great benefits of homeopathy is that it’s incredibly cheap. You can buy the stuff at larger Boots stores. Quite why it needs NHS funding is beyond me.

  5. Why not ask those who approve of homeopathy to sign a “treat me with homeopathic remedies not evidence-based drugs” register which can be consulted when they require medication? I’m no economist, but isn’t there something called “revealed preferences”?

  6. Every defence of homeopathy I’ve seen includes the phrase “it has no side effects” but is short of scientific evidence that it actually works

    Why not try homeopathic QE and inject £1 into the financial system?

  7. Homeopathy doesn’t work in the sense of having any pharmacological effect.

    However, there are some conditions, idiopathic lower back pain for example, which respond as well to a placebo as anything. So why not make a cheap and harmless placebo available to those who want it?

  8. SJW – the cheap and harmless placebo is available in lots of places. The argument is whether taxpayers should pay for it. And if you think we should should pay for stuff that people (wrongly) believe works, then should we pay for prayer, reiki, exorcism, healing crystals etc etc etc?

  9. In the absence of any objectively effective treatment, doctors should be able to prescribe the cheapest harmless thing that makes the patient feel better. Making patients feel better is a good thing. It’s likely to be good value for taxpayers too.

    Mind you, if we can save money without lessening the therapeutic effect by administering isotonic saline solution instead of homeopathic remedies, so much the better. Perhaps we could get the RLHIM to run a trial.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    I don’t know if homeopathy should be on the NHS or not, but if it is, I want everyone involved to be paid in whatever currency Zimbabwe is using.

    Let’s see if the memory of real money is as good as the real thing.

  11. The placebo effect is very real.

    Actual, proper, real scientific experiments have been done on the effect and it makes fascinating reading.

    A simple white pill has some measurable effect, but a capsule has a bigger one and a two-tone capsule a bigger one still. Stuff in a hypo syringe wipes the floor with everything else.

    So yes, I think some placebos should be administered.

    Fake medcines for fake patients.

    Talking of fakes, you can tell the science behind something according the the relevance of the “experts” qualifications’. So railway engineers who are experts on climate change, Prof Gilmore with his guts degree on dementia and Babs on general medcine in the 21st century.

    In real life, of course, matters are entirely different and if you ask your cardiologist a few questions about your rectal tumour, he’ll shut you up pretty sharpish and tell you to bugger off to the oncologist.

  12. Regarding the power of placebos, ISTR reading a report a while ago that indicated that the placebo effect still worked if the patient was told that the treatment was only a placebo..! 🙂

  13. Ben Goldacre’s book is good enough on this whole homeo/placebo thing. It’s also excoriating on the MMR/autism thing.

    What I wondered is: if the placebo effect (and thus Homeopathy) can cause a positive effect with no drugs involved, why can’t a parent’s anxiety about a medical procedure (such as an MMR jab) cause autism in their kids?

  14. Henry Crun said:
    “SJW, if that’s the case have a glass of tap water. It will be jsut as effective”

    Probably because, for the placebo to be effective, the patient has to believe in it.

    Which leads to the unpleasant result that it isn’t the homeopathic medicines that it’s useful for the NHS to fund, but the practitioners (the placebo effect of homeopathic medicines would probably be stronger if patients were told that the NHS had been bribed by Big Pharma to ban them).

    Personally, if they get the same results, I would prefer them to hire a bunch of cynics who pretend to believe in it, rather than a bunch of loons who actually do.

    But perhaps they do – it would only work if we never knew.

  15. OMFG. Do not eat seeded-grapes* while reading this one. Almost choked I laughed so hard.

    You know … those things that used to be called “grapes”. You can still grow them in your garden!

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