So, Jenny Willott, Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central has very promptly replied to my email regarding her signing of the two EDM’s. While I commend her quick response, I’m not sure I agree with everything she says in the letter.
Dear Mr Morgan,
Thank you for your email about homeopathy and the EDMs which I have signed on the issue.
Both of the EDMs you mention discuss specific issues surrounding the treatment of homeopathy by bodies charged with assessing and analysing them. For instance, EDM 908 deals specifically with how the Science and Technology Select Committee’s report into homeopathy was conducted. I believe that in this case there were real concerns about the committee’s methodology which undermine the credibility of it’s report, for example, refusing to take evidence from the Society of Homeopaths.
I agree with you that it is very important that ay decision taken on medical treatments is made in a scientific way. However, this often means talking to people you disagree with. By not doing so, I am concerned that the Science and Technology Committee failed to carry out their investigation properly.
The other part of the EDM which I support is the Government maintain the policy of allowing individual NHS trust to determine whether to fund a particular course of treatment, As a Lib Dem I believe that people have a right to choose to be treated in a particular way providing it is safe, and, that if the treatment is cost-effective, they should be available to get treatment on the NHS. However, it must be left up to NICE and individual NHS trusts to determine whether something is cost-effective and shouldn’t be the role of the Government. That is why I was so concerned by some of the Select Committee’s recommendations because they suggested taking away the opportunity of NHS trusts to respond to their patients needs.
On the overall issue of homeopathy I again believe that we need to continue to research this area. Whilst I agree that many of the trials have suggested that this type of treatment has no medical effects, some other studies have suggested a link and therefore this is an area which requires further study before a definitive decision is reached.
I hope that this helps explain why I signed the EDMs you mentioned and reassures you that I understand the importance of scientific evidence, especially in decisions as important as medical treatments.
Thank you again for your email and if you have any more questions about this or any other matter please do not hesitate to contact me.
Jenny Willott MP
I am currently considering a response and will write another blogpost when I have worked out exactly what I want to say. I just wanted to get this out there.