Early Day Motion 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy

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Early Day Motion 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy was an Early Day Motion proposed by David Tredinnick on 21st June 2010. It was one of four Early Day Motions supporting homeopathy proposed by Tredinnick at the same time, the others being EDM 285: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells, EDM 286: Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression, and EDM 287: Homeopathy and Chronic Primary Insomnia.

The motion stated:

"That this House expresses concern at motions 301, 301a, 301b, 301c, 301d, 301e and 301f at this year's British Medical Association's (BMA) Annual Representative Meeting, which calls for no further commissioning of, nor funding for, homeopathic remedies in the NHS; believes that the BMA has overstepped its remit by making such statements without proper consultation with its own membership that practice homeopathy and, more importantly, with the tens of thousands of patients who depend on homeopathy; thinks that an integrated NHS, which employs the best from the orthodox and complementary, and which empowers patients, could deliver better and more cost-effective outcomes at a time of financial prudence; and calls on the Government to maintain its policy of allowing decision-making on individual clinical interventions, including homeopathy, to remain in the hands of local NHS service providers and practitioners who are best placed to know their community's needs."

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Background

EDM 284 was proposed prior to the BMA's annual representative meeting. Following the meeting, Tredinnick proposed Early Day Motion 342: British Medical Association Motions on Homeopathy.

The motions of the BMA referred to in the EDM are as follows[1]:

301 Motion by THE AGENDA COMMITTEE: That this Meeting believes that, in the absence of valid scientific evidence of benefit:
(i) there should be no further commissioning of, nor funding for, homeopathic remedies or homeopathic hospitals in the NHS;
(ii) no UK training post should include a placement in homeopathy;
(iii) pharmacists and chemists should remove homeopathic remedies from shelves indicating they are 'medicines' of any description, and place them on shelves clearly labelled 'placebos'.
301a Motion by SHROPSHIRE DIVISION: That this Meeting demands that homeopathy should not be funded by the NHS due to lack of convincing evidence that it is effective. In fact there is recent evidence that it does not work any better than a placebo and can divert patients away from more evidence based therapy that they may require.
301b Motion by SCOTTISH COUNCIL: That this Meeting believes that, given the complete lack of valid scientific evidence of benefit:
(i) homeopathy should no longer be funded by the NHS;
(ii) no UK training post should include a placement in homeopathy.
301c Motion by SOUTH DEVON DIVISION: That this Meeting is concerned to improve patients' fully informed choice, and calls for those pharmacists and chemists regulated by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (or its successor during 2010 - the General Pharmaceutical Council) to remove homeopathic remedicines from shelves indicating they are 'medicines' of any description, and to place them on shelves clearly labelled 'placebos'.
301d Motion by CONFERENCE OF HONORARY SECRETARIES OF BMA DIVISIONS: That this Meeting calls for there to be no further commissioning of nor funding for homeopathic medicines within or by the NHS unless or until the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) determines the cost-effectiveness of such medicines and sets out guidelines and recommendations for their use in the NHS.
301e Motion by SHROPSHIRE LMC: That this Meeting believes there is insufficient clinical evidence to justify NHS funding for homeopathy clinics.
301f Motion by NORTHAMPTONSHIRE LMC: That this Meeting requests that homeopathy should be first in line for NHS cuts in this economic crisis since it is unproven and expensive, and patronage by royalty should not ensure funding for unproven treatments. Homeopathic hospitals should be paid for and funding for homeopathic drugs should no longer be available on the NHS.

References

  1. http://bma.eu/images/armagenda2010_tcm41-197493.pdf

Amendment

An extensively amended motion, EDM 284A1, was proposed by Julian Huppert. The amended motion read:

"That this House expresses support for the right of the BMA to express its views about the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of any putative health treatment and the appropriateness of the NHS commissioning such treatments; notes that the motions of the 2010 BMA Annual Representative Meeting dealing with homeopathy endorse the findings of the recent report from the Fourth Report of the Science and Technology Select Committee of Session 2009-10 on Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy Fourth Report of Session, HC45, namely that the evidence base is clear that homeopathy is not effective beyond placebo and that scarce NHS funds should not be spent commissioning it at a time when, due to cost, the health service is not able to provide its patients even with treatments that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials; and further welcomes the view of the BMA that healthcare should be based on good evidence of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness."

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List of signatories

The original motion was signed by 23 MPs:

The following MPs signed, but later withdrew their signatures:

Amendment

The amended motion 284A1 was signed by 11 MPs: