The Prince of Wales caused indignation among the scientific community this week.
His crime? He has become the patron of the Faculty of Homeopathy, a 175-year-old organization that promotes this alternative therapy.
Homeopathy has been subject to persistent attacks by doctors and scientists in recent years that say there is absolutely no evidence that it works. These critics have accused Prince Charles and accused him of & # 39; anti-science & # 39; to be.
Homeopathy is based on the belief that the body can be helped to heal itself, using infinitely small amounts of natural substances derived from plants and minerals that, according to practitioners, trigger the healing process.
The Prince of Wales (photo) caused outrage among the scientific community this week. His crime? He has become the patron of the Faculty of Homeopathy, a 175-year-old organization that promotes this alternative therapy
But these preparations are so diluted that they usually do not contain pharmacologically active substances and so, scientists say, no better than placebo's.
As a result of this backlash, the NHS has now refused to fund homeopathy on the grounds that because it has limited financial resources, it is wasteful to pay for homeopathic treatments if there is no evidence that they work.
At one level this is of course perfectly reasonable – it is only right that the taxpayer's money is spent on treatments that have a demonstrable impact.
But while I agree that homeopathy relies on ridiculous theories for which there is no evidence, I do not try to discourage my patients seeking homeopath help. I even tried homeopathic remedies myself.
You see for some people that homeopathy works. It can very well be due to the placebo effect – when a patient believes a drug or treatment works even though no active therapeutic ingredient is involved – but that doesn't mean they say they feel better.
Although I agree that homeopathy is based on absurd theories for which there is no evidence, I do not try to discourage my patients who seek homeopath help. I even tried homeopathic remedies myself
Many scientists reject the placebo effect, but I am afraid of it. Research shows that it works for around 30 percent of patients, which is pretty good.
And the fact that we can get better because we believe we want to do so is proof to me of the amazing power of the mind.
So if homeopathy makes people feel better, it doesn't matter if it's because of a real pharmacological effect or because of the power of the mind.
Therefore, for my patients who no longer have access to homeopathy at the NHS, I have written support letters to charities that might finance their treatment privately, outlining the benefits they had for them.
So if homeopathy makes people feel better, it doesn't matter if it's because of a real pharmacological effect or because of the power of the mind
And I also benefited from it. In the past, when I also went to watch TV, I took a homeopathic remedy to help me relax.
Logically I knew that it had nothing to do with me in a physiological sense, but I still felt it helped – and that's the point. There were no side effects and there was no risk of addiction, so what was the damage?
Every doctor has so-called & # 39; heart sink & # 39; patients – people who, despite doing everything they can, don't seem to help doctors. They are often plagued by multiple, vague problems that conventional medicine does not reach.
In my experience it is often these patients who do well with homeopathy.
The more subtle approach to a homeopath is what they respond best to. What a shame that the NHS can no longer offer it thanks to anti-homeopathic prejudices in the scientific community
Their physical complaints are often manifestations of psychological problems and having a homeopath, where their problems are listened to and treated holistically, can be enormously effective.
Some of my colleagues would say that these patients should receive psychotherapy.
But talk therapy is not for everyone, especially for those who instinctively & # 39; close & # 39; for a therapist, because they shrink from digging too much into their past. The more subtle approach to a homeopath is what they respond best to.
What a shame that the NHS can no longer offer it thanks to anti-homeopathic prejudices in the scientific community.
BMA vote on health tourism is a shame
What on earth were representatives of the British Medical Association who thought they overwhelmingly decided to stop charging foreign patients for NHS treatment on the grounds that it was & # 39; racist & # 39; could be considered?
That was my response and that of each of the medical colleagues I spoke with after the email reported the crazy decision.
The BMA certainly does not speak to all doctors about this issue, and I believe the game is out of contact with thousands of its members and the general public.
The NHS is at breaking point. Targeting the NHS by people who are not entitled to treatment costs taxpayers an estimated £ 200 million to £ 2 billion a year.
The BMA proposes to open our health service to anyone who can come on the plane, train or boat to come here and receive expensive treatments to which they are not entitled.
An estimated £ 1.8 billion per year is spent on patients from countries with which we have bilateral healthcare agreements. Much of this is, in theory, recoverable, but in reality only about £ 100 million is reimbursed.
This is madness. The BMA proposes to open our health service to anyone who can come on the plane, train or boat to come here and receive expensive treatments to which they are not entitled.
After hearing this, you can imagine how an elderly person in need of a cataract operation can feel when an operation is refused because more and more people are for budgetary reasons.
I pay a subscription to the BMA to protect me professionally and to lobby on behalf of doctors on behalf of the government. I do not want the BMA to indulge in political score scores and identify virtue that will harm the NHS we want to serve.
Let's addicts in & # 39; dayhab & # 39; stop, not in withdrawal clinics
& # 39; Dayhab & # 39; is a new approach to the treatment of patients with drug or alcohol problems introduced in the UK.
It is an intensive rehab program that is run in a day care center, allowing patients to live at home during treatment, and is pioneered by a former government advisor who helped comedian Russell Brand of heroin.
The first private center in West London will open next month under the name Help Me Stop.
I am a big fan of this approach, I experienced it while working in an NHS day program for patients with an eating disorder.
& # 39; Dayhab & # 39; is an intensive rehab program run at a day care center that allows patients to live at home during treatment, and is pioneered by a former government advisor who helped comedian Russell Brand (photo) get rid of heroin
I think the NHS should also adopt it for drug and alcohol addiction. It is not only cheaper than residential rehabilitation, it has enormous psychological benefits.
When I was working with drug addicts, many patients and their families insisted on residential rehabilitation because they believed it was a safe way to beat addiction.
But such internships had their drawbacks – and I was never convinced that they were effective in the long run.
Of course, while the addict was in rehab, they often abstained from drugs. But once at home, surrounded by the same people and triggers associated with their habit, they would soon relapse.
Dayhab has the advantage of helping people manage their addictions in their daily environment so that they can make lifestyle changes that last a long time.
A vaccine triumph
In an important review in this week's Lancet, scientists predict that cervical cancer may soon be eradicated.
This is entirely due to the introduction of the HPV vaccine, which protects against the human papillomavirus that causes the vast majority of cervical cancers.
This is an extraordinary achievement – just over a decade after the launch of the NHS program to immunize teenage girls.
Thanks to vaccination, another deadly disease could soon be limited to the history books.
But what a tragedy that the so-called & # 39; anti-vaxxer & # 39; brigade is growing faster worldwide. When will they realize how wrong they are?
In an important review in this week's Lancet, scientists predict that cervical cancer may soon be eradicated. This is an extraordinary achievement – just over a decade after the launch of the NHS program to immunize teenage girls
Dr. Max writes … This is going to hurt on stage
Author and comedian Adam Kay has turned his best-selling book This Is Going To Hurt, about his time as a junior doctor, into a show, now touring the country.
Harrowing and hilarious, he gives a brilliant insight into hospital life.
Laughter is the best medicine and if this show is something like his book, it will be a real tonic. Details on adamkay.co.uk
A paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology says we really want to shoot the messenger & # 39; with bad news.
The reason is rooted in evolution; we must protect ourselves against terrible events, and so if we accuse the foremen of doom, it provides an outlet – no matter how unjustified – for our indignation.
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