The national newspapers today are both unanimous and venomous in attacking homeopathy. Most articles conflated (in my opinion deliberately) two separate issues:
- The extremely damaging effects (to both individuals and society in general) of homeopaths dissuading parents from having their children receive the normal vaccinations universally recommended by all health authorities.
- Homeopathy is apparently no use to anyone, because any possible benefits that can be obtained by it are purely due to the placebo effect. (ie benefits of the consultation and patients’ apparently deluded belief that the medicine will do them good)
Let me be clear about my position on each of these completely different issues:
As a medical doctor and member of the Faculty of Homeopathy (the regulatory board representing medical doctors in the UK trained in homeopathy) I absolutely support vaccination – as does the Faculty of Homeopathy. The position of the Faculty is clearly stated on their website as follows:
This signals unequivocal support for vaccination by the Faculty of Homeopathy, recently graced by the patronage of Prince Charles, whom I trust would share the views on vaccination clearly shared by the vast majority of doctors using homeopathy in their medical practices in the UK.
This vital point is eschewed by the papers as they vilify the Society of Homeopaths, a regulatory board representing trained homeopaths who are not medical doctors. Like most medical doctors using homeopathy, I’m not represented by the Society of Homeopaths in any way and have no influence on any of their views on any aspect of homeopathy. I therefore repeat that I, like all responsible medical doctors and the Faculty of Homeopathy, support vaccination ‘according to the current protocol using approved vaccines’ –as stated clearly by the Faculty but worthy of repetition and representation in the media.
On the second point, I strongly disagree. Outcome studies such as this one have shown that patients do indeed benefit from consulting homeopathic doctors and taking the medicines they prescribe. The mechanism of action of homeopathy remains a mystery and a controversy but it is safe when used responsibly in conjunction with medical science and orthodox medication. Indeed millions of people are helped by homeopathy worldwide and in countries such as India it is supported openly by the government.
The conflation of points 1 and 2 is disingenuous and damaging to responsible homeopathic doctors and their patients. The press should make it clear that the Faculty of Homeopathy and medical homeopathic doctors most certainly support vaccination – as well as many other effective and evidence-based orthodox medical interventions.