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Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will list the primary care trusts which have stopped all funding for homeopathic treatment; and if she will make a statement; (142268)

(2) what cost-benefit analysis has been carried out on NHS homeopathic treatments; and if she will make a statement.

The Government consider that decision-making on individual clinical interventions, whether conventional, or complementary/alternative treatments, has to be a matter for local national health 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, 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.

The Department recognises that the health needs of a community can differ from area to area and primary care trusts (PCTs) would reflect these needs in developing these policies. We would expect the PCTs to carry out their own cost-benefit analysis of any treatment or service they were considering commissioning.