Anne Milton

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Anne Milton is the Conservative MP for Guildford, first entering Parliament in 2005. Following the 2010 general election she was made parliamentary under-secretary of state for health in the coalition government[1].

Abortion and Sexual Health

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Anne Milton voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[2]. After four separate parliamentary votes on varying time limits, the majority of MPs voted to keep the abortion time limit at 24 weeks, in keeping with scientific and medical consensus, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.

Following the May 2010 general election, Milton was appointed parliamentary under-secretary of state for health. The same year the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV was disbanded. In May 2011, it was revealed[3] that the replacement governmental sexual health forum would not include the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), but would include the group Life. On their website, Life repeatedly talk of respecting each person from fertilisation (conception)[4]. They also promote the Creighton Model FertilityCare System[5], a calendar-based contraceptive method with a claimed typical-use effectiveness of 96.8%, based on research by the Pope Paul VI Institute which, it is claimed, excluded most pregnancies from the typical-use rate calculation[6].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Anne Milton voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[7]. An October 2014 briefing report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe[8]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[9]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Libel Law Reform

Writing in response to an inquiry from a constituent on libel reform, Milton wrote:

"I do understand your concerns and agree that it is important to make sure that those who contribute to research and culture in the UK do not feel restricted from publishing challenging and informative articles out of fear of libel action. Freedom of expression is vital in a free society and debate by scientists, academics and journalists should be encouraged."[10]

However as of 9th January 2010, she has not signed Early Day Motion 423[11].

Alternative Medicine

Homeopathy

Writing prior to the May 2010 general election, in response to an inquiry from a constituent on Homeopathy on the NHS, Milton wrote:

"Homoeopathy and alternative treatments are a valuable resource for doctors to be able to draw upon when offering treatments. Where a doctor and a patient believe that a homoeopathic treatment may be of benefit to the patient, I believe they should be available and all therapies should be considered equally.
There is no doubt that there are many remedies which work although it is not always possible to find out why. As someone who trained as a nurse and worked in the NHS for 25 years I could mention many instances when I have seen this for myself. My Grandmother was also a homoeopathic nurse! (Orig. punc.)"

Integrated Medicine Adjournment Debate

On 2nd June 2010 David Tredinnick called an adjournment debate on integrated healthcare[12][13]. Responding to Tredinnick's speech, Milton said:

"My hon. Friend may be interested to know that although I trained as a nurse and worked in the NHS for 25 years in conventional medicine, my grandmother trained at the homeopathic hospital in London, and was herself a homeopathic nurse. Later, she became a Christian Scientist. I am therefore not without my own roots in alternative therapies. My hon. Friend may also be interested to know that my grandmother never, until her death at the age of 89, took any conventional medicine."

She then talked of homeopathic hospitals, calling their uncertain state "a matter of concern, given that they have clearly offered valuable treatments to patients".

Talking about allowing doctors to have more control over treatments she said that:

"...we believe that local practitioners are best placed to make decisions about individual care, and that GPs are often most in touch with the health needs of their local populations. That is why it is so important that this Government will seek to give GPs more power to commission services, and patients more power to choose health care providers. By bringing together groups of general practitioners and giving them direct control over the health budgets of their patients, we will push the decision-making process closer to patients-closer to the heart of the problem. GPs will have the power to choose how to spend resources in order to achieve the best health outcomes, and we will ensure that PCT boards include directly elected individuals who can speak for patients at board level so that local people have a voice when decisions are made about local health provision."

However, she made no specific statements about government policy or attitude to alternative medicine, saying that "As the new Minister in this post, I am hesitant to commit to things that I feel might be above my pay grade."

Topical Questions on Homeopathy

On 29th June 2010 Milton responded to Parliamentary topical questions on homeopathy from both Julian Huppert and David Tredinnick[14][15]. Her responses were indirect, both times stating that decisions about treatments should be made by doctors/clinicians, and based on their safety, efficacy and efficiency.

Response to Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy

In her role as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State fro Health, Milton announced the coalition government's Response to the Science and Technology Committee report 'Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy', although it is not known what contributions, if any, she made to the response document. The response largely rejected the conclusions of the committee report, and advocated no changes to the use of homeopathy on the NHS. However, the reason it gave for this was not the belief that homeopathy worked, but rather it was in the name of "patient choice"[16]. In her short announcement Milton said:

"We remain of the view that the local national health service and clinicians are best placed to make decisions on what treatment is appropriate for their patients. We expect local clinicians to make decisions on what is best for their patients taking account of safety, evidence of clinical and cost-effectiveness (where it exists) and the availability of suitably regulated/qualified practitioners.
"We remain committed to providing good quality information available about complementary and alternative treatments so that clinicians and consumers can make informed decisions if they are considering such treatments."[17][18]

Traditional Chinese Medicine

In November 2011 Ms Milton responded to a Parliamentary question from David Tredinnick about visiting China to consider traditional Chinese medicine:

"...I recently visited China, and it was fascinating to meet Ministers there. He will also be very pleased to hear, as I am sure the whole House will, that I visited a hospital and community centre that combines western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine."[19]

Sharia Law

Anne Milton does not believe there is any place for Sharia Law in the English legal framework.

Creationism

Anne Milton does not believe that Creationism should be taught as an equivalent theory to Evolution in British schools although this should not preclude the existence of an original creator.

Animal Testing

Although Anne Milton believes that there is a necessity for some testing on animals, she also believes that the scientific community is 'lazy' when it comes to searching for alternative testing methods.

House of Lords Reform

Anne Milton believes that wholesale reform of the House of Lords is necessary and that it should be, almost exclusively, an elected body.

Same-Sex Marriage

Anne Milton voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its third reading in May 2013[20].

References

  1. http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/latest-news/2010/05/her-majestys-government-49840
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/may/24/abortion-sexual-health-coalition
  4. http://www.lifecharity.org.uk/
  5. http://www.lifefertilitycare.co.uk/natfamplan.html
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creighton_Model_FertilityCare_System
  7. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Anne_Milton
  8. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  10. http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/01/libel-reform-which-mps-are-doing-their-jobs/
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  12. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100602/debtext/100602-0021.htm#1006037000132
  13. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2010-06-02a.548.0
  14. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100629/debtext/100629-0003.htm#10062953000031
  15. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2010-06-29a.711.8
  16. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_117810
  17. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100726/wmstext/100726m0001.htm#1007264000009
  18. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wms/?id=2010-07-26b.63WS.1
  19. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2011-11-22b.154.1#g157.6
  20. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Anne_Milton

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