Saturday 1 June 2002 Alternative medicine: Should we swallow it?
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is an increasingly acceptable part of the repertory of healthcare professionals and is becoming more and more popular with the public. It seems that CAM has come of age-but should we swallow it?
AUTHOR: Editor: Tiffany Jenkins
Michael Fitzpatrick: General Practitioner and author of The Tyranny of Health
Brid Hehir: nurse and regular contributor to the nursing press
Sarah Cant: Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences
Anthony Campbell: Emeritus Consultant Physician at The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital
Michael Fox: Chief Executive of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine
Tiffany Jenkins: Academy of Ideas
‘As a doctor trained in orthodox medicine, I am alarmed at the widespread approval of the concepts of integrated medicine…it is not possible or beneficial to reconcile mainstream medicine and alternative healing traditions…The shift of medical practise away from the treatment of disease towards a wider intervention in personal life in the cause of enhancing health and happiness is bad for patients, bad for doctors and bad for society.’
‘What people seem to want is an integrated provision to health ...They want the best of both worlds it is essential that the government provides some support…Quite rightly the public wants to know whether these therapies work, as do healthcare practitioners and managers.’
CEO of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine
‘To understand the popularity we must enter the consultation room. In the majority of encounters within alternative medicine it is likely that the patient will take a central position…in turn patients are elevated to expert status, critical players in the understanding of their health.’
Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University College.
‘Nurses…are using patients as they cope with their personal or professional crisis, be it in a ‘search for their spiritual self,’ embarking on a voyage of self discovery’ or coming home to themselves…This is abusive, deceitful, self-obsessive and downright selfish.’
‘The most basic feature of science in that it proceeds by questioning its own assumptions. CAM systems by contrast, can never question their basic assumptions, for then they would be sawing off the branch on which they seat…It is precisely these upheavals that constitute the advancement of scientific knowledge, while doctrines are appropriate for religions but not for science’
Emeritus Consultant Physician at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital
Past director of the Hospital
Past Honorary director of the British Homeopathic Journal.