The right hon. Gentleman, who has been in the House as long as I have, has made a good point. There is scientific evidence out there, although we could use more. One of the problems is that, when scientific evidence is produced, it is pooh-poohed. However, that does not stop people using, for example, arnica cream when they get wounds. It is a standard preparation and it is a homeopathic medicine. So there is a degree of need for more studies, but there are studies out there that are ignored.
I have said homeopathy is the second biggest medical system in the world. Some would say it is the most prestigious. It has always been held in very high regard by people who are widely respected. It is no secret that the royal family and many celebrities have used homeopathic medicine over the years. It has become increasingly important in an age when drug dependency is epidemic and when there are serious worries about the effectiveness of antibiotics.
The homeopathic private sector is growing fast not only in this country, Europe and America, but everywhere. However, in the NHS, we are under attack from people in the medical establishment. This goes back to 2005, when a letter was put out attacking homeopathic services in the health service. It was actually a bogus letter on NHS letterhead. The Countess of Mar and Lord Palmer asked a question about it and the reply acknowledged that
“this document was not issued with the knowledge or approval of the Department of Health and that the use of the National Health Service logo was inappropriate in this instance. The document does not represent any central policy on the commissioning of homoeopathy”.
Anti-homeopathy groups such as the so-called Good Thinking Society, which is a front for one individual, a sceptic called Simon Singh, are threatening clinical commissioning groups with legal action for commissioning homeopathy. People such as Simon Singh are anti-patient, anti-choice and closed-minded individuals who have never studied or used homeopathy. In the UK, we have a robust system of homeopathic regulation. We have the Faculty of Homeopathy, which was formed in the 1950s for doctors. Doctors are, of course, regulated by the General Medical Council as well. In 2015, the Professional Standards Authority took on oversight of the regulation of the 2,000 members of the Society of Homeopaths. Such enhanced regulation is important and is a good reason why homeopathy should be more greatly available in the health service.