Has the health regulator just given 'credibility to quackery'?

Dina Rickman@dinarickman
Wednesday 17 September 2014 14:00

The health regulator has been accused of giving "credibility to quackery” after accrediting a register of qualified homeopaths.

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) announced earlier in September they had credited the Society of Homeopaths, saying “patients and the public can have confidence in the Society of Homeopaths’ voluntary register which has been vetted and approved by the Professional Standards Authority.”

However science writer and author Simon Singh told i100 he was concerned that the move would be a “slippery slope”.

"It can go either way - if you do regulate them at least the people on that list should be insured and have some code of ethics. But on the other hand you're really giving underserved credibility to quackery. If you go down that road where do you stop?"

He said that if homeopaths are regulated, he sees “no reason” why the PSA would not accept medical astrology next. He claimed there is no evidence that homoeopathy works and noted that the Society of Homeopaths has had a series of complaints made against them to the Advertising Standards Agency. A recent ASA complaint ruled that an advert inviting people with depression to try homoeopathy was targeting “particularly vulnerable” consumers and breached the Code of Advertising Practices.

Miranda Parsons Chair of the Society of Homeopaths said: "The Society's vision is to see homeopathy accepted and integrated into modern healthcare in the UK as it is in various countries around the world. Well over 200 million people around the world use homeopathy."

A spokesperson for the Professional Standards Authority said: "Accreditation does not imply that the Professional Standards Authority has endorsed the efficacy of a treatment or therapy practised or any other service offered by registrants on the Society of Homeopaths’ register."

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