Friday, March 25, 2011

The Society of Homeopath's response

Here is the Society of Homeopath's response to my complaint:

One quick point: When I posted about registering a complaint, it was a good while before I sent the letter. I double checked to make sure I did as the Society of Homeopaths said, and they said to send the letter recorded delivery, and it took me a week or too to get to get to the Post Office. Their response was actually quite quick.

My complaint focused on these parts of their Key Principles and Practices:

1.1 Put the individual needs of the patient first.
1.3 Treat everyone fairly, respectfully, sensitively and appropriately without discrimination.
1.4 Work to foster and maintain the trust of individual patients and the public.
1.5 Listen actively and respect the individual patient’s views and their right to personal choice.
1.6 Encourage patients to take responsibility for their own health, through discussion and provision of information.
1.13 Respond promptly and constructively to concerns, criticisms and complaints. - Ignored completely.

Of course, as their response shows, they have a get out clause: if they doubt your seriousness and sincerity, they can ignore all of the above.

I must admit to feeling hard done by - if the Society thinks that what I'm doing merits me seeing a registered homeopath, then why is it that their members are free to disagree with their official body, and ignore me?

Whilst I disagree that homeopathy works, they think that homeopathy does work, and therefore they must think that, as a healthy individual, I'll be putting my health at risk. Thus, they show a complete and total disregard for my health.

Or, of course, they actually know it's all BS, and are just in it for the money, so obviously are unconcerned.

Not just that, but what of the health of others? I'm sure most of us will have seen the "Don't drive or operate heavy machinery" warnings on medications. I'm healthy, and taking an insomnia treatment - my sleep will be affected (if we assume homeopathy works). If they gave this the thought I have, are they not worried that when I drive (operating heavy machinery is always a risk, I am unqualified), am I endangering other road users? Granted, they don't know if I drive - but it would have been good to get some generic advice like this.

To finish the letter "We do not wish to enter into further correspondence with you on this matter" just says it all really.

About the Society of Homeopaths:

"Our vision is ‘homeopathy for all’ and we aim to achieve this both by supporting our membership and by raising the profile of homeopathy in general.

The Society of Homeopaths is the largest organisation representing professional homeopaths in Europe with over 1400 members on its Register.

Our members practise in accordance with The Society's Code of Ethics and Practice and carry full public liability and indemnity insurance.

Our Professional Conduct Department offers impartial assistance should difficulties arise between a patient and one of our members."

Not really accurate, is it?

So why did I contact homeopaths? What did I want?

Well, I wanted to know what they thought. Genuinely. Also, what effects they might warn me about (see above about driving for example). Maybe they would have seen an opportunity - they're not going to stop me from overdosing, they could have used this to their advantage. Granted, I'm just one person, but this is (as far as I know) the only overdose of its kind. It's new ground in homeopathic overdosing! Not you're "one dose and you're done" 10:23 campaign (though I applaud that campaign), this is, in total 4 months, or 121 days of overdosing. It's 968 tablets (plus an additional bonus 72 tablets for 10:23).

Here's a quote from Martin Robbins' piece that started it all:

So consider this post an open challenge to homeopaths out there:

How does one overdose on homeopathy?
Why are you not campaigning for clearer information on labels?
Are you as a community mature and capable enough to look at the evidence and reach a consensus?

In the meantime, health authorities are voting with their wallets. NHS Bolton are the latest in a string of trusts to halt the use of homeopathy following the damning verdict of MPs earlier this year on the quack remedies. If homeopaths expect to have any credibility whatsoever, they need to start engaging with questions like those above in a meaningful or constructive way.

They are quite clearly, as an industry, not mature at all.

In the meantime, I maintain that from my experience, if you are a homeopath, you are either an outright fraud, or a child, with your fingers in your ears going "la la la can't hear you" when presented with criticism. Or ,as Ben Goldacre has said "hpaths are an angry nasty bunch, which is why ppl write about them so much!". I wonder if the anger comes from the fact that homeopathy doesn't work, they know it, and their income stream is under threat?

But I'd also like to add that many homeopaths, if they are not frauds, appear to be genuinely horrible people - they believe their quack remedies work, yet they are more than happy to sit back and let a skeptic put their health (life?), and, potentially, the lives of others at risk. That's not the action of someone who genuinely cares about the well being of others.

Granted, my health, nor that of others has ever been at risk from this overdose. However, from the perspective of someone who thinks homeopathy works, then they must think that it has been.

Tonight I take the last overdose.

Soon as I can after that I'll check out what symptoms homeopaths say I would get with my treatment, and we can compare these to the few that I (sort of) got.

For those that have asked about my financial support of the industry, I'm off setting my woo footprint by helping Sense About Science.


  1. "All forms of Complimentary & Natural healthcare rely on exploring & establishing clients needs & expectations" - I found that line in the Society of Homeopaths' response quite intriguing. Is that another way of saying that they figure out a way to efficiently defraud the mark... erm, the client? Or does that mean that they try to set up the client for a better placebo effect? Hmm...

  2. Another question, hope you don't mind: what is the code to set up real time feeds for the blogs in your blogroll - the way you have set them up? It is a cool feature.

  3. @SUIRAUQA The real time feeds are a built-in feature of the ‘Blogger’ Blog Roll. In setting up the list one enters the target blog’s URL and it updates automatically.

  4. @SUIRAUQA Don't mind the questions at all, thanks Pick Man for answering.

    As for the SoH it is interesting, it seems like a big get out clause. Hardly the way to serious regulation if you ask me.


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