Imagine going to see an NHS doctor with a serious illness, and coming away with a prescription for sugar pills. Now imagine that you had no idea that the medicine was nothing more than sugar, and that you were deliberately kept in the dark about the contents of those pills prescribed under the NHS. How would you feel about that?
This is effectively what is happening now, under the current rules governing the prescription of homeopathic products by the NHS, rules the Department of Health, citing "patient choice", refuses to change.
It is apparently quite alright to prescribe homeopathic pills – which are so diluted that they contain none of the active ingredients they are said to contain – because of the fact that some patients choose to have them, even though they may be quite unaware that their medicine is nothing more than a sugar pill.
Last February, the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons severely criticised government policy on the use of homeopathy by the NHS, in its report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy". The committee concluded that by providing homeopathy on the NHS (admittedly in rare and apparently exceptional circumstances), and by giving official licences to homeopathic products sold in pharmacies, the Government runs the risk of endorsing homeopathy as an efficacious system of medicine.