To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent initiatives he has taken to make wider use of complementary and alternative medicines and treatments and practitioners in the Health Service.
The Department is committed to a National Health Service which is run by its front-line professionals. Decisions on provision of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) will therefore be made by local NHS staff, taking into account the needs of patients, the evidence base, and the effectiveness of regulation of those who provide CAM.
We are co-funding a two-year collaborative project led by Westminster University to identify and develop good practice in the clinical governance of CAM within primary care. The project is being carried out in partnership with the Prince of Wales' Foundation for Integrated Health, which is running a parallel project to identify good practice in the use of CAM in a range of primary care trusts.
To help improve the evidence base we have included CAM in our programme to strengthen research capacity, and bids from academic institutions to host research in this field are currently being considered. We also recently issued a call for research proposals on the role of CAM in the care of cancer patients.