An MP who wants to chair the influential Commons health select committee has defended his advocacy of alternative medicines and said its uptake in the NHS should not get "bogged down" by the need for evidence.
Writing for The Huffington Post UK, David Tredinnick champions the use of homeopathy and herbal remedies in the NHS and calls for an end to the "dogma" and "hypocrisy" over trialling them.
The Conservative MP for Bosworth, who has said astrology has a role to play in healthcare, faces competition for the role from Sarah Wollaston, the GP turned MP who was chairman of the committee before the election.
Elections to chair 25 committees, the most high-profile jobs for a backbencher, will take place tomorrow.
During the last Parliament, the health select committee investigated the Mid Staffs hospital scandal, the Government's alcohol strategy and the the outbreak of the Ebola virus.
Dr Wollaston, MP for Totnes, has previously warned homeopathy risks causing "serious harms" when "masquerading" as a "vaccine".
— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) January 23, 2013
In his blog, Mr Tredinnick writes:
"Across the world in some of the largest populated countries like India and China patients are routinely treated with therapies like homeopathy, herbal medicine and acupuncture alongside orthodox Western medicine.
"This provides a more rounded treatment plan and brings about better patient outcomes in combining the best of what both philosophies have to offer."
While arguing patients are "usually more open-minded than many of the doctors who treat them" and that "real world patient experience" must play a part in decision making, he adds the NHS needs to "determine what works for what conditions and provide those treatments for patients".
He goes on:
"We cannot get bogged down with demands for randomised controlled trial evidence, as some do.
"It is hypocrisy by many who demand it, as much of conventional medicine that is routinely used in the NHS does not have the randomised controlled trial evidence evidence that is demanded of complementary therapies, which are less invasive with far less side-effects.
"We live in a real-world where real world patient experience and outcomes must play a part."