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Volume 459: debated on Wednesday 2 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether a patient wishing to choose NHS homeopathy and other forms of complementary medicine will be able to access such services from one of the four NHS homeopathic hospitals; and how many other hospitals plan to offer such services. (133931)

The homeopathic hospitals in the United Kingdom fall under the jurisdiction of the national health service in the area in which they are based. Any decisions on the services any of these hospitals provide are the responsibility of those NHS healthcare organisations.

The Government consider that decision-making on individual clinical interventions, whether conventional or complementary/alternative treatments, have to be a matter for local NHS service providers and practitioners as they are best placed to know their community's needs. In making such decisions, they have to take into account evidence regarding safety, the clinical and cost-effectiveness of any treatments, the availability of suitably qualified practitioners, and the needs of the individual patient. Clinical responsibility rests with the NHS professional who makes the decision to refer and who must therefore be able to justify any treatment they recommend. If they are unconvinced about the suitability of a particular treatment, they cannot be made to refer.