2008 was perhaps the Year of The Disciples of Scientism. Journalists such as Simon Singh and Ben Goldacre laid into homeopathy and complimentary medicine with savage enthusiasm. Doctors such as David Colquhoun and Edzard Ernst were often quoted in the media and held up as exemplars of our ‘evidence-based society’. I made the point that huge swathes of orthodox medical interventions were simply not evidence-based and cited the British Medical Journal’s Clinical Evidence manual to show this. Yes, I’ve cited it before and will do so again until enough people have seen the clear and unequivocal evidence that much of what we take as ‘scientific medicine is simply NOT evidence-based.
Ignoring clear evidence like this and shrieking in self-righteous indignation like feral cats, they wrote books such as Bad Science.
and Trick or Treat. Homeopathy seemed to qualify for extra contempt and bad jokes and I think I know why…
Homeopathy is available to the people of Britain at several NHS hospitals. The reason for this hallowed position of this particular form of alternative medicine is that several homeopathic hospitals were funded and built in Britain before the advent of the NHS in 1948. In the spirit of making medicine available to all, they opted to join the NHS at its outset and in the 60s a by-law in parliament cemented its position in the NHS.
So for a long time doctor/scientismists such as Prof. Michael Baum and others have suggested that the NHS money spent on homeopathy is a complete waste. No matter that 15% of the British public really trust homeopathy. No matter that studies show that patients attending NHS homeopathic hospitals (and most of these are only trying homeopathy because ordinary medicines have not helped them) are really satisfied with the treatment they have received. That’s not good enough for the Disciples of Scientism. They believe that these patients must be being duped or hypnotised by suggestion into feeling better because homeopathy simply cannot work. So let us be clear about this:
- Patients attending homeopathic hospital do improve and are happy with the service.
- This is unacceptable to a group of doctors and journalists who apparently think these patients are being ‘duped’ into feeling better.
- Homeopathy has been available on the NHS since 1948 but some limitations have been implemented since David Colquhoun, Edzard Ernst and others persuaded non-doctor commissioning bodies to thwart GPs in some areas from being able to send patients to homeopathic hospital.
The result of this campaign is that Tonbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital may stop receiving referrals, a tragedy for homeopathic supporters and patients in the area. The ‘scientismists’ will claim this a victory as they say it’s a big waste of NHS money.
A patient of mine was deeply disturbed by these events and decided to do some independent research on NHS money spent on homeopathy. I found his work to be thorough and the results so fascinating that I thought I should publish his article in full. Anyone reading this can be left in no doubt concerning the cost-effectiveness of homeopathy. I welcome your comments…