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Eminent Doctors In UK Wants The NHS To Abandon Alternative Medicines:

same sort of criteria as conventional medicine but we have not expressed a view about its role within the NHS".

Michael Baum, a cancer specialist who is emeritus professor of surgery at University College London had organised the letter. Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, is another signatory. The doctors urge that the primary care trusts should not spend money on unproven therapies at a time when the NHS is short of cash.

The letter criticises two recent initiatives of the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Medicine, a patient guide to complementary medicine, for which it was given government funds and last year's Smallwood report, which stated that complementary medicine on the NHS was cost-effective. The doctors ask the trust chief executives to review their policies so that patients are given accurate information. They urged them not to waste the already scarce resources on therapies that are yet to be proven in rigorous clinical trials.

They concluded that at a time when the NHS was under intense pressure, patients, the public and the NHS are best served by using the available funds for treatments that are based on solid evidence. Professor Baum said that he would be very happy for the NHS to offer the treatments once research has proven them effective, such as acupuncture for pain relief, but that very few had reached the required standards. He felt that if people want to spend their own money on it, fine, but it shouldn’t be NHS money.

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