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The questionable influence of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, on the integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into the NHS.
“The Department of Health has admitted for the first time that homeopathy has been discussed at private meetings between ministers and the prince, a strong supporter of alternative therapies… Last year Prince Charles was accused of meddling in Government policy after it emerged he had written to eight Whitehall departments in three years. Now an MP has accused him of overstepping his constitutional role by having 'secret' meetings with ministers on what is a deeply political issue.” Mail Online (21st February 2010)
“Prince Charles, heir to the throne, is the modern day head of British alternative medicine. He has set up a campaign and lobbying organisation called the Foundation for Integrated Health, which promotes the wider acceptance of quackery in British life – he calls it ‘integration’. Charles prefers magic homeopathic sugar pills to magic coins. Both though are equally as ridiculous. He promotes his own elixirs, through another company of his, Duchy Originals. In order to do so, he lobbied the Department of Health as part of their enquiry into allowing more lax regulation for herbal medicine. He obtained one of the first licenses from the MHRA and launched his Duchy range of herbal tinctures. I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about them and they found Duchy Originals to be making misleading and untruthful claims. Much more worrying than these ridiculous potions is that fact that Prince Charles is directly involved in trying to establish new double standards in the regulation of medicine in the UK. Just has his namesake did, he is attempting to create new backdoors to allow mountebank practitioners to practice medicine without any of the ethical demands placed on real doctors. His Foundation was given money by the Department of Health to establish the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (more commonly known as Ofquack). This body offers voluntary regulation to a range of quack practitioners. There is no need for these practices to have any evidence base – the CNHC will just certify they have been well trained in their nonsense and give them the Royal and governmental stamp of approval.” The Quackometer (10th December 2009)
(Formerly known as the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health) The Foundation was an independent charity that supported the integration of alternative and complementary medicines into the NHS. Its President was HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. On 30th April 2010, having decided that The Foundation had "achieved its objective of promoting the use of integrated health", it was closed by its Trustees.
Speeches and articles, including those on complementary medicine, which have been made by Prince Charles since 1982. (The official internet website of HRH The Prince of Wales)
FreshMinds is the market research agency in London which was involved in the Smallwood Report.
"I was talking to patients earlier this afternoon at the homeopathic hospital, and one lady said homeopathy had totally transformed her irritable bowel syndrome in a matter of 12 hours." HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, speaking at The Inaugural Conference of The Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health G.P. Associates, St. James's Palace, London, on 12th October 2005.
Full text of a speech on integrated healthcare which was made by Prince Charles at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Assembly, in Geneva, Switzerland, on 23rd May 2006. Interestingly, the Prince made no mention of homeopathy despite its promotion by his Foundation for Integrated Health and its inclusion in the Foundation for Integrated Health's publication 'Complementary healthcare: a guide for patients'. [A link to the guide can be found further down this page]
A new regulatory body called The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is due to launch in April 2008. Complementary therapy professions themselves have developed the regulatory model, with support and facilitation from The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH). The FIH has been working for several years with a range of complementary therapy professions to set up an 'umbrella' regulator covering these professions. The Department of Health awarded FIH a grant of £900,000 over the three-year period 2005 to 2008 to facilitate this process. (Foundation for Integrated Health website) [NOTE: The CNHC has completely avoided discussing whether the treatments it is to regulate actually work.]
Link to the CNHC's website. It has been formed to offer voluntary self-regulation for complementary therapists.
On the subject of evidence, the CNHC Code requires its registrants to only provide treatment or advice if they *believe* it is appropriate.
"Dr. Michael Dixon, the medical director of the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, wrote an editorial for BBC news that is a densely packed rant of tiresome straw men often trotted out by the defenders of so-called "integrative" medicine… Dixon was writing right out of the playbook of "integrative" propaganda, so it is worthwhile to expose his numerous logical fallacies and mischaracterizations of fact (the Holism Gambit, the Argument from Final Consequences, etc.)…Even putting aside their extreme scientific implausibility, the evidence shows that most modalities promoted by Dixon as integrative and rejected by scientific medicine simply do not work." Article by Steven Novella MD, Science Based Medicine (8th April 2009)
"The pathophysiology of 'detox' is non-existent; as a therapeutic approach, detox is implausible, unproven, and dangerous; Prince Charles and his advisors seem to ignore science and prefer to rely on 'make believe' and superstition; detox promotions may contribute to ill health by suggesting we can all over-indulge, then take his tincture and be fine again. Under the banner of holistic and integrative healthcare he thus promotes a 'quick fix' and outright quackery." Follow up report by Edzard Ernst, MD PhD FRCP FRCPEd (Quackwatch, 30th March 2009)
"The heir to the throne pays attention to scientists when their findings match his own prejudices, otherwise he ignores them……on the issue of detox (and alternative medicine more generally), the Prince of Wales seems to ignore scientists." Article by Simon Singh, Guardian Science Blog (16th March 2009)
"Dr Michael Dixon OBE is clearly a big fan of alternative medicine, although, of course, he prefers the PR friendly term *integrated medicine*. Dixon runs his own GP practice in Devon. By the look of it, it is quite a smart place. The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health ran an article about it a few months ago: Integrated Health at Cullompton….. Dixon accuses his detractors of making him a "target of a campaign to force him out of his NHS Alliance role". I note, though, that in the FIH article, Dr Dixon rather surprisingly tells us that, 'I got into the integrated approach for purely selfish reasons." Now that is a charge I would not dare to make. But by promoting such nonsense to his patients, and by misleading people over the evidence for their effectiveness, and allowing the FIH to promote his practice without declaring an interest, I would think that, at the very least, we are dealing with someone, well, rather graceless." The Quackometer (25th February 2009)
"…..the world's first professor of complementary medicine, Professor Edzard Ernst of Exeter University, attacked as "laughable" the latest effort of the Prince to support alternative cures, following his founding in 1993 of the Foundation for Integrated Healthcare (FIH)." Article by By Martin Hickman, The Independent (24th January 2009)
"The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council's claims to regulate alternative medicine are misleading and dangerous…. The history of the CNHC reads like that of a government body in a banana republic. Several years ago, the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health (PFIH) was given £900,000 from the Department of Health and previously £1 million from the King's Fund for setting up a regulatory framework for UK alternative practitioners. This is a lot of money for little work — and, crucially, it was given to entirely the wrong organisation…..The MP Evan Harris was even less impressed with the new CNHC: "This register is an attempt to give legitimacy to a business model founded on deceiving the public with pseudo-scientific and misleading health claims"." Article by Edzard Ernst, The Guardian (21st January 2009)
"Today Prince Charles visited the Nelson's Homeopathic Pharmacy manufacturing laboratories….he praised them for their efforts in "leading the way to integrate natural and conventional healthcare". Again, it is difficult to see what Nelsons are doing to integrate with conventional healthcare. It is difficult to talk about a homeopathic pill manufacturer without calling it a fraud." The Quackometer (16th December 2008)