Homeopathy is witchcraft, say BMA doctors

A body of junior doctors in Britain have described homeopathy as "witchcraft".

Updated: May 16, 2010, 16:08 PM IST

London: Describing homeopathy as "witchcraft", a body of junior doctors in Britain has voted overwhelmingly to seek a blanket ban on the practice of the alternative medicine.

Hundreds of members of the British Medical Association (BMA) have passed a motion denouncing the practice of homeopathy, saying taxpayers should not foot bills for remedies which have no scientific basis to support them.

They demanded an end to all placements for trainee doctors who teach them homoeopathic principles.

Dr Tom Dolphin, deputy chairman of the BMA`s junior doctors committee in England told the conference: "Homeopathy is witchcraft. It is a disgrace that nestling between the
National Hospital for Neurology and Great Ormond Street in London there is a National Hospital for Homeopathy which is paid for by the NHS."

The motion could become the official policy of the organisation if it is agreed upon by their full conference next month.

Latest figures show that 54,000 patients are treated each year at four NHS homeopathic hospitals in London, Glasgow, Bristol and Liverpool, at a cost of 4 million pounds.

A fifth hospital in Tunbridge Wells in Kent was forced to close last year when local NHS funders stopped paying for treatments.

The BMA had previously expressed scepticism about homeopathy, arguing that the rationing body - the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, should examine the evidence base and make a definitive ruling about the use of homeopathic remedies in the NHS.

Crystal Summer, chief executive of the British
Homeopathic Association said attempts to stop the NHS funding
alternative medicines ignored the views of the public,
especially patients with chronic conditions.

"Homeopathy helps thousands of people who are not helped
by conventional care. We don`t want it to be a substitute for
mainstream care, but when people are thinking about making
cuts to funding, I think they need to consider public
satisfaction, and see that homoeopathy has a place in
medicine," she said.

She said junior doctors` call for an end to any training
palcements based in homeopathic hospitals ignored the lessons
alternative medicine could provide in terms of how to diagnose

The alternative medicine, devised in the 18th century by
German physician Samuel Hahnemann, is based on the theory that
substances which cause symptoms in a healthy person can cure
the same problems in a sick person when vastly diluted.

Proponents say the resulting remedy retains a "memory" of
the original ingredient - a concept dismissed by scientists.