Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Homeopathy is witchcraft

The British Medical Association's annual conference of junior doctors has declared that homeopathy is witchcraft. They have voted for a blanket ban and an end to all placements for trainee doctors to teach them homeopathic principles.

Dr Tom Dolphin, deputy chairman of the BMA's junior doctors committee in England told the conference: "Homeopathy is witchcraft. It is a disgrace that nestling between the National Hospital for Neurology and Great Ormond Street there is a National Hospital for Homeopathy which is paid for by the NHS".

As The Times of India commented: "It was not insulting for members of the British Medical Association to describe the practice of homeopathy as witchcraft. What would be insulting to the intelligence of the observer and the basic principles of reason is to suggest that it is anything but."

This is excellent news for all of us who care about evidence, science and the survival of the cash-strapped NHS.

Latest figures show 54,000 patients are treated each year at four NHS homeopathic hospitals in London, Glasgow, Bristol and Liverpool, at an estimated cost of £4 million.

Of course, the defenders of homeopathy have responded. Crystal Sumner, chief exec of the British Homeopathic Association (BHA) said that cutting NHS funding ignores the views of the public, especially patients with chronic conditions.

She said: "Homeopathy helps thousands of people who are not helped by conventional care. We don't want it to be a substitute for mainstream care, but when people are thinking about making cuts to funding, I think they need to consider public satisfaction, and see that homeopathy has a place in medicine".

She may not want it to be a substitute for mainstream care but she and the rest of them certainly want homeopathy to be given equal standing with medical treatment and the same respect.

Public satisfaction is an interesting defence. Boots sell homeopathic remedies not because they work but because people like them. By this logic, patients should be given any kind of treatment they choose, as long as it makes them happy. If public opinion were the yardstick of medicine, we'd still be putting butter on burns.

Seeing a practitioner who gives you a lot of attention, makes a sad face when you talk about your problems and lots of sympathetic noises may make you feel nice, but most right-thinking people would prefer someone who knows a) what caused your problem and b) how to cure it. It's nice if the doctor smiles but it's nicer if they save your life.

Chronic conditions are an area where mainstream medicine may appear to fail because in some cases, conditions can be managed but not cured. Some alternative treatments may make a condition more bearable and if a patient chooses to pay for it, then that's up to them - as long as they know what they are getting. Which, with a lot of alt med, is a big fat placebo. Feeling better is not the same as being better.

Another defender of alternative medicine is Dr Mukesh Batra of Dr Batra's Positive Health Clinic, who opened a clinic on Harley Street two months ago. He said, "We're in the heart of their city, not some far-flung suburb".

It would seem that the location of a clinic is an indicator of its efficacy, so if you attend a tiny local hospital in a rural area, you're probably not getting very good treatment, according to that logic. When you walk into a clinic, it really should smell of money if you want to be cured.

He also says: "A homoeopath needs to obtain a five-year degree so they're not all quacks".

Which would imply that most of them are. He also has homoeopathy clinics in Muscat and the United Arab Emirates - jolly nice locations, so they must be good.

The BMA motion was supported by Chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum, but it will only become official policy of the whole organisation if it is agreed by their full conference next month. After parliament's science and technology committee reported in February that 'the NHS should cease funding homeopathy. It also concludes that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) should not allow homeopathic product labels to make medical claims without evidence of efficacy. As they are not medicines, homeopathic products should no longer be licensed by the MHRA' it does look like the writing may be on the wall for publicly-funded homeopathy.

Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum commented: "Homeopaths believe that serial dilution increases potency. The results of scientific experiments do not support this belief and have shown conclusively that homeopathy performs no better than placebo. Yet, following the logic of the homeopathic argument maybe just one more experiment should be conducted to serially dilute the number of NHS-funded homeopaths. In the interests of compassion and human rights, the ten strikes against a hard object known as succussion, could be deferred until the dilution process had removed all traces of actual homeopaths.

It would be ironic to prove that the memory of homeopathy is more effective than the real thing. The true value of homeopathy would then be forever imprinted on the memory of the NHS which would have the added benefit of more money to spend on proven treatments."


  1. "Crystal Sumner, chief exec of the British Homeopathic Association"

    I had to check that it was not April 1st.
    Nominative Determinism lives!

  2. Homeopaths don't seem to understand that homeopathy is electrical not chemical in its higher dilutions. Main stream science likewise does not realise this ether. But the MOD
    known about this years ago. In combination with Lyme Disease which the NHS are still in denial about.
    It makes a very good weapon.

    It makes an even better excuses to put even more of us in a mental hospital while doctors get paid lots
    of dosh. Not treating us. We don't know how many have Lyme Disease in the UK or anywhere else.

    Lyme Disease is being labled as ME or MS. The NHS has not using up to date testing then trying to convince
    us they know what they are doing.
    You may as well dowes. They dowes reuteenly in 3rd world countries.As to what blood tests should be taken.
    Perhapes that might be the way here to save money.

    As there are said to be about 45% Masons doctors (witch doc) they may
    have been doing all a long.

    However the reamergance of Tesla technology in the form of Bicom and other things. Where the water can be programmed directly.

    The mod have known along time stealth can programme anything over distance. Whether it is good.
    Not the way they are doing it.

    Masons and others are taking peoples
    energy. I come across mason doctors who are very black. What they are motivated by? While others try to make out its just a game.