In a recent interview, I drew attention to aspects in the ongoing debate about homeopathy, that I feel have been somewhat under-discussed.
The first is that our critics never seem to mention the patient and empathic way homeopaths listen to the story of their patients’ illnesses in the context of their whole lives, before even thinking of which ‘controversial’ white pill to prescribe. Critics and sceptics may believe that homeopathic benefits (‘if any’) derive solely from this. If this is what they believe, they should say so openly. If they are genuinely interested in patients’ well being, the next logical step would be a major medical investigation into trying to understand why patients who are listened to in homeopathic, way start dramatically improving!
The second aspect I believe does not get enough attention is Outcome and Patient Satisfaction. An outcome study is a study in which patients are simply questioned comprehensively on the outcome of any medical intervention. In this regard, homeopathy has scored very highly as in the Spence Outcome Study in Bristol. That study was attacked by critics – mainly due to their distaste for outcome studies in general.
But why? For patients outcome is everything. Patients care about getting better; how they got better is of secondary importance. What critics of homeopathy have done is to some extent deride the obvious beneficiaries of homeopathic treatment.
Just as homeopaths listen to suffering patients carefully and empathically, so critics of homeopathy should listen to what satisfied homeopathic patients have to say about their experiences. Outcome studies are no more than a collation of the voices of patients – the very people whose welfare this debate has apparently been all about.