On Tuesday, many millions of us will watch the Queen’s personal Christmas day televised message to the Commonwealth. It is likely to be an uncontroversial and encouraging message carefully read from an autocue. For six decades, our monarch has avoided giving offence to almost anyone by simply adopting those very British qualities of reserve, manners, careful choice of words and partiality to talking about the weather to avoid any form of confrontation. Even illegal intruders on to her private property report being treated with courtesy. Thus, while it is common knowledge that the Queen is certainly partial to Complementary Medicine and has personally used homeopathy all her life, it is no surprise that she has not entered the fray of the present debate between the scientismic and authoritarian detractors of CAM and NHS homeopathy and the holistic and more liberal defenders of public choice in these matters.
Prince Charles, our monarch in waiting, could not be more different in this regard. He is open and vocal about his support for CAM, NHS homeopathy and a more compassionate and whole person orientated medicine in his country. Some may not be happy about a member of the Royal Family writing an article for a medical journal, but why should he not write for the journal of the ROYAL Society of Medicine? And why shouldn’t he be roundly applauded for saying that ‘much more can be done to foster and enhance those age-old qualities of human kindness and compassion ? After all, the Secretary of State for Health himself, Jeremy Hunt, (a supporter of NHS homeopathy) has gone as far as saying that there is a ‘kind of normalisation’ of cruelty in some of our hospitals.
There are those who say that the reason that CAM and homeopathic doctors get results is ONLY because of the time they spend listening and talking compassionately with patients. If the detractors of NHS homeopathy and CAM had a vestige of compassion for patients who claim to have been helped by CAM, they would focus their energy on trying to understand why and how these patients get better – which of course is always the bottom line in medicine. Even for those handcuffed by scientism who abhor CAM, integrity demands that far from calling for an end to CAM on the NHS, one should campaign to keep NHS CAM clinics open . Results are all that matter, whether they are being achieved by the tools of CAM or in the words of our future monarch, ‘those age-old qualities of human kindness and compassion’. Those who unlike me, think it’s exclusively the latter should at least emulate Prince Charles and call for more compassionate conventional medicine instead of irrationally attacking CAM practitioners who in their eyes are apparently ‘illegitimately’ getting results by being humane, kind and compassionate.
Happy Xmas to One and all: Royals, Patricians, Plebians, doctors and even practitioners of CAM!