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Queen's doctor warns of homoeopathy crisis
By Nina Lakhani
A leaked memo reveals that there is 'a co-ordinated campaign' to derail
alternative therapies on the NHS
Published: 02 September 2007
The Queen's personal physician and Britain's leading homoeopath
yesterday warned of a "co-ordinated campaign to derail complementary
therapies in the NHS".
A leaked memo seen by The Independent on Sunday identifies several
influential groups working together for the removal of homoeopathy from
According to Dr Peter Fisher, clinical director of the Royal London
Homoeopathic Hospital, there has been a 20 per cent reduction in
referrals to the hospital in the past year, as new patients are refused
funding by a growing number of primary care trusts.
The hospital - an NHS centre of excellence - could be forced drastically
to cut services if other PCTs introduce the same system and if funding
for patients currently undergoing treatment is withdrawn.
Dr Fisher, whose patients include the supermodel Claudia Schiffer,
pointed to the fact that some six million people in the UK use
complementary therapies each year. Advocates include David Beckham and
Dr Fisher said: "There are some patients with conditions that
prescription drugs alone do not help. There is a huge potential to help
these patients and those who experience adverse side-effects from
conventional medicines with complementary therapies."
The four NHS homoeopathic hospitals combine therapies to treat chronic
conditions, such as depression, irritable bowel syndrome and
osteoarthritis that conventional medicines alone can fail. But this
integrated approach offends the beliefs and aims of certain groups.
"The campaign dates back two years starting with several eminent and
mostly retired scientists and doctors who have a way of seeing the world
and medicine which complementary therapies do not sit within," Dr Fisher
said. "The pharmaceutical industry is worried for its future, as public
opinion is shifting towards complementary therapies."
The memo, sent out by the president of the Association of the Directors
of Public Health, Dr Tim Crayford, referred only to homoeopathy, but all
complementary therapies are affected. Dr Crayford said: "The email...
was certainly not about all complementary therapies. This paper was
written to help PCTs focus on the delivery of essential services."
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