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Dartington (Visit)

Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1997

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Q6. [14142]

If he will make an official visit to Dartington in the Totnes constituency.

I have no immediate plans to visit the hon. Gentleman's constituency, but I intend to visit all regions of the country.

Since Dartington and the Totnes area of south Devon is a mecca for alternative therapies, and given the increase in the number of people now benefiting from complementary medicines—many Members of Parliament have experienced those benefits and some need the experience even more—will the Prime Minister endorse the view of the King's Fund, supported by Prince Charles? Leading physicians and those involved in complementary medicines are seeking a solution whereby their approach to medicine can go into mainstream medicine.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. My hon. Friend the Minister for Public Health will meet the Prince of Wales next week to discuss the recommendations of the integrated health care document. We are, of course, considering the issue carefully. In addition, Department of Health officials will arrange meetings with its main authors. As the hon. Gentleman is aware, doctors and clinicians in the national health service are free to arrange for their patients to receive complementary medicine if there is a clinical need for it. It is a growing area, which is now supported by as many within the national health service as outside it.