Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Are Homeopaths Health Professionals?

The critics of homeopathy don't think that homeopaths are medical experts. There are two reasons I am making this statement, and probably two responses (at least) to it.

The first reason concerns my complaint to the BBC about their awful Newsnight programme, broadcast on 4th January, 2011. It was a hatchet job on Homeopathy. Whilst pursuing that complaint it became clear to me that the BBC were using as part of their defence 'the weight of medical expertise' which, they said, approved of the programme content. My argument - that the medical debate had two sides, and that the BBC were using 'experts' from one side, met with deaf ears. Homeopaths were not medical experts. They did not have to balance 'our' views with the views of all the ConMed organisations that weighed in against homeopathic prophylaxis - because we were not experts.

The second reason is my current, ongoing skirmish with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The websites of many homeopaths breached the CAP Code because homeopaths, it has been decided, are not health professionals! Here is the gist of what the CAP Code says:

Marketers must not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought. For example, they must not offer specific advice on, diagnosis of or treatment for such conditions unless that advice, diagnosis or treatment is conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional. Accurate and responsible general information about such conditions may, however, be offered.

Health professionals will be deemed suitably qualified only if they can provide suitable credentials; for example, evidence of: relevant professional expertise or qualifications; systems for regular review of members’ skills and competencies and suitable professional indemnity insurance covering all services provided; accreditation by a professional or regulatory body that has systems for dealing with complaints and taking disciplinary action and has registration based on minimum standards for training and qualifications.

And ASA, in their wisdom, is excluding homeopaths from this august body of Health Professionals!

So how should homeopaths respond? Clearly, we have to insist that we do have relevant professional expertise and qualifications, etc., because, quite simply, we do have them! If we allow this attack on our professionalism, our training, our qualifications to continue unopposed, we can continue to expect to be attacked when we say we can treat illness, cure disease, and keep people healthy.

Homeopathy must also respond more forcefully. The time when spokespersons can go on television and say that homeopathic prophylaxis is not recommended has to come to an end. Not only do we, as homeopaths, regularly treat illness, cure disease, and keep people healthy - we can do it (and have done it for over 200 years) more successfully than conventional medical professionals. Compared with anything ConMed practitioners can offer, our remedies are safer, more effective, and less expensive for patients.

If the constant, largely ignorant criticism of homeopathy over the past few year is going to achieve anything, it will be to demonstrate that the homeopathy profession has to stand up for itself, and not just defend what we are doing, but proclaim it from the mountain-tops!

Steve Scrutton
Professional Homeopath
Director, ARH


  1. Webmaster,

    This site appears to be defective. I have posted a comment several times, but it has not appeared. Please attend to this problem.

    I have repeated the comment below.

    "The time when spokespersons can go on television and say that homeopathic prophylaxis is not recommended has to come to an end."

    Please clarify. Do you state categorically that homeopathy can and should be used instead of conventional medicine for prophylaxis of malaria?

    If you are taking a homeopathic remedy to prevent malaria, does that mean you can ignore all strategies (mosquito nets etc) to avoid getting bitten?

    Webmaster: I have posted this comment several times in recent days. The page then shows the post is awaiting approval but then it does not appear. Self-evidently it is not a spam or bot post so I assume there must be a fault in your software. Could you attend to this, please. Thanks.


  2. I believe that anyone who wants to avail themselves of Homeopathic protections should be able to do so. It is a matter of Patient Choice.

    I cannot imagine why anyone, taking conventional drugs or homeopathic remedies, should not avail themselves of normal protective strategies.

    I have not been aware of these posts previously.


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