Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why does Prince Charles get involved in NHS spending debates?

There was a fascinating and entertaining debate on homepathy on Today this morning. The Guardian reports:

A group of senior doctors and scientists has stepped up its campaign to stop homeopathic treatment being funded on the NHS. In a letter to primary health care trusts, the seven argue that the evidence for a benefit from the complementary therapy "is equivocal at best, despite many years of research and hundreds of studies".

It does seem mad, in these days of strained NHS resources, that money is being spent on therapies, for which there is little evidence regarding their effectiveness. As the said doctors argue, this is not just a matter of money, but a matter of principle.

It would be fascinating to know what the Royal Family, keen users of homepathy, think about all this. As has been pointed out, it does seem bizarre that Prince Charles makes interventions on this matter, given that it is a controversial area, directly involving governmental health spending decisions. After all, I am not aware that Prince Charles is a scientist and the report he commissioned in 2005 (which recommended alternative therapies in the NHS) was by an economist, not a medical person.

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