Homeopathy and the NHS

There's a lot of discussion about whether homeopathy should be available from the NHS. The critics say it doesn't do anything beyond placebo. Supporters of homeopathy say that there is a beneficial effect above and beyond placebo. They can't both be right, so what's going on?

There are also those who say "so what if it is just placebo?" Why shouldn't patients be permitted to request it, and the NHS obliged to provide it?

Here's some interesting material on these subjects:

The current NHS description of homeopathy.

A discussion about the ethics of placebos in complementary and alternative medicine.

Simon Singh and Dr Peter Fisher from the Faculty of Homeopathy at the Royal Hospital of London debate the evidence behind homeopathy.

Finally, for a broader look at some related issues, try this Huffington post article about problems with certain prevailing practices in healthcare.