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Volume 460: debated on Monday 14 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the level of availability of treatment in homeopathic hospitals to NHS patients in England. (132785)

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 health care 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 for the safety and 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.