Homeopaths ‘forbidden’ from offering autism ‘treatment’ by government watchdog

Sophie Gallagher
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Homeopaths have been warned by a government watchdog that they have three months to stop advertising therapies that claim to treat autism.

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) said on Thursday that it would be renewing its accreditation of the Society of Homeopaths on the condition it could no longer claim to treat certain conditions.

In a statement on the PSA website it said the society must make clear that members must not practice or advertise therapies for autism.

“Specific reference must be made to the society’s position forbidding the practice of CEASE and dietary/nutritional supplements,” it said.

CEASE stands for Complete Elimination of Austistic Spectrum Expression and was invented by a Dutch doctor called Tinus Smits who died of cancer in 2010.

The therapy reportedly involves “detoxing children of the vaccines and antibiotics” held responsible for the condition through extremely high doses of Vitamin C and dietary changes.

Numerous studies, including one of 650,000 children in 2018, have conclusively stated that the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine does not cause autism.

As well as forbidding the use of CEASE therapy, the PSA said homeopaths should stop advising on vaccinations or suggesting homeopathy is a substitute for vaccines.

Instead homeopaths should refer all patients to the NHS for further guidance on this matter.

Homeopathy isn’t widely available on the NHS and in 2017 NHS England recommended GPs and other prescribers stop providing it to patients.

Homeopathy is a “treatment” based on the use of highly diluted substances, which practitioners claim can cause the body to heal itself, according to the NHS.

A 2010 House of Commons committee report on homeopathy concluded homeopathic remedies perform no better than placebo treatments.

A 2018 study found people who use homeopathy as part of their cancer treatment are, on average, twice as likely to die from the disease as those who use conventional treatment only.

The PSA has faced a legal challenge over its decision to accredit the Society of Homeopaths and in October Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, demanded the accreditation was revoked.

Emily Buttrum, chief executive of the Society of Homeopaths, said: “Accreditation by the PSA ensures that patients can choose to see a homeopath belonging to a register that upholds robust standards.

The PSA oversees medical professions, reviewing bodies such as the General Medical Council.