A two-year battle by patients to force medical bosses to reinstate funding for homeopathy raises interesting questions about the practice.
NHS Brent said the 2007 decision to cancel its contract from Royal London Homeopathy Hospital came after a clinical review board considered the medical usefulness of this kind of treatment and its cost effectiveness.
Campaigners claim homeopathy is gentle, non-invasive, non-addictive and safe, and that in Brent about 320 people, some of whom are chronically ill, have found their lives have imp-roved through it.
They say not only is it an alternative to traditional medicines which can produce strong side effects, but it can stave off more expensive mainstream treatments, saving taxpayers' money in the long run.
However, one of the problems is that, unlike traditional medicines and treatments, homeopathy's comparative success cannot be easily quantified, and, according to NHS Brent, patients receiving homeopathy are often simultaneously receiving mainstream therapy or medicine that provides some degree of relief or cure. Some of it may be a placebo effect.
NHS Brent ultimately decided homeopathy is a waste of money, but how does this tally with the trumpeting of patient choice, and who can put a price on a service that people believe - whether science can prove it or not - has eased their suffering?
Make that call
IT IS utterly heartbreaking for a family to bury a child, especially when it was Richie McDonagh, a boy with so much to look forward to, but whose life was tragically cut short after being fatally injured in a hit-and-run as he walked across a pedestrian crossing.
Last week his father Martin made an emotional plea for the person who hit his son to hand himself in.
Sadly, nearly two weeks since his death no one has come forward to admit their part in what happened as the 11-year-old made his way home.
We ask you to search your conscience if you know this person and urge you to contact the police on 020 8998 5319 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 so justice can be done for Richie's family.