Sunday, 25 November 2018

Animal Quackers

Those who promote/support homeopathy for animals are very fringe. Their numbers are tiny, their voices shrill and their tactics bizarre. The tactics are of interest as are links to 4Homeopathy etc.

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons statement
The RCVS statement was discussed here as were some of the reactions. In short, the RCVS has taken the position that homeopathy treatments can not be used first resort by vets. It can only be used as adjunctive treatment, not sole treatment. The RCVS has the authority to determine standards for the profession.

The intial reactions were predictable but will not be discussed (much) here.

British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons
BAHVS says -
The Association was formed in 1982, to advance the understanding, knowledge and practice of veterinary homeopathy (homoeopathy / homœopathy).

It aims to stimulate professional awareness of homeopathy and to encourage and provide for the training of veterinary surgeons in the practice of homeopathy. It is an open forum for the various differing approaches to the subject of veterinary homeopathy and its application, allowing for constructive interchanges of ideas. The Association has a written constitution, adopted in 1988. Members follow a Code of Practice, adopted in 1998, which is regularly reviewed.
BAHVS is tiny. It lists 46 practices/vets and not all are in the UK. Some of these are ordinary practices, others are referral practices - ie they don't take clients on directly, only from other vets. There are around 15,000 vets in the UK.

Membership of BAHVS is open to those with qualifications accredited by the Faculty of Homeopathy (FoH). The FoH is closely linked to the British Homeopathic Association (BHA). The Portland Centre for Integrated Medicine (PCIM) will be discussed in a future post on NHS homeopathy.

The RCVS do not recognise homeopathy as a specialty. There is no requirement to have training or be a member of BAHVS to offer homeopathy.

The Officers are -

  • Chris Day // President
  • Ilse Pedler // Junior Vice-President
  • Jane Keogh // Senior Vice-President
  • Stuart Marston // Hon. Secretary
  • Wendy McGrandles // Secretary & Treasurer
  • Malene Jørgensen // Publications Editor
  • Peter Gregory // Faculty Veterinary Dean/IAVH Representative
  • Nick Thompson // Committee Member
  • Geoff Johnson // Committee Member
  • Mark Elliott // Committee Member
That is over 20% of the membership.

BAHVS has a statement on nosodes full of weasel words. These products can not be registered with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). Placing them on the market is illegal. This is often ignored. BAHVS member Graham Hines is a  sells them to the public but in general vets who use them are very coy about it - it could get them struck off. Homeoprophylaxis - homeopathic "vaccination" - is a threat to animal and public health. It is know that it happens but evidence is a problem.  Chris Day, founder of BAHVS, is known to have used them and conducted "research" (kennel cough and bovine mastitis). 

BAHVS's Code of Practice is likely incompatible with the RCVS position on homeopathy. See -
It is not anticipated that animals, which are brought for homeopathic or other alternative or complementary medicine but which are not part of the member’s practice, should be treated with conventional drugs by the member. If such work is deemed necessary, it should be referred back to the original referring veterinary surgeon, who is better able to monitor the treatment.
Homeopathic treatment can not be solely used. Either the animal is referred back (potentially causing delay to treatment) or the BAHVS member treats them with conventional medicines.

BAHVS is a member of the International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy (IAVH). Both seem to operate out of Riverside Veterinary Surgery.

The membership fees are unknown. There is no obvious linked company or charity. There is a BAHVS PayPal account. BAHVS's size suggests a very low income. There is a crowdfunding campaign to "save" veterinary CAM but it has raised little money and is not publicised by BAHVS. It was not set up by BAHVS but by animal psychic Elaine Downs. Jackie Hat is involved too (secretary of Homeopathy at Wellie Level?). Logos of Helios Homoeopathy, Freemans Homoeopathic Pharmacy and Honey's appear but it is not clear if they give money to BAHVS.

The misleading video of the first BAHVS march was produced by the partner of vet and BAHVS member Malene Jørgensen. He is responsible for other BAHVS videos. The "Save Veterinary Homeopathy" logo that can be seen in the video looks very like the BHA "Save NHS Homeopathy and Herbal Medicine" logo.

BAHVS has a Twitter account and Facebook page. Many of the Twitter posts are identical to Nick Thompson's. They reveal "Big Pharma" conspiracy theories and plenty of anecdotes about homeopathy curing animals. It should be said that there are few trials of homeopathy on animals and they are even weaker than human ones.

Homeopathy at Wellie Level
HAWL provides training courses for farmers in homeopathy. Although based in the UK, it has run courses in Ireland. HAWL is a limited company. It's directors are - 

  • Susan LACROIX
  • Jeremy Charles Hector LEES
  • David John WILSON
Lacroix offers CEASE and other therapies as well as being an organic farmer. Wilson is a former director of the Soil Association and possibly (former) farm manager for Prince Charles (a very common name). Lay homeopath Chris Lees is co-ordinator and administrator. Jackie Hat was mentioned above. Internet research revealed freelance project manager and lay homeopath Jaqueline Pearce-Dickens working with them.

This page has BAHVS member Chris Auckland, BAHVS member Nancy Morris and lay homeopath and farmer Sue Warner as teachers.

HAWL also produce a number of publications. It seems that they are dependent on donations to keep going though.

HAWL has a Twitter account and a Facebook page but does not seem to promote the "Save Veterinary Homeopathy" campaign. HAWL does not seem to have strong links to other homeopathy organisations.

CAM4Animals is a strange organisation to say the least. "Freedom to Choose CAM for our Animals" is its slogan but there is more than what is on the website. They claim the RCVS position means -

  • Our freedom of choice as animal guardians has been compromised
  • Homeopathy is leading this campaign but all Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) are affected
  • ​Farmers will be forced to use antibiotics before proven alternatives like homeopathy. This is a major concern for organic farmers and may reduce our access to organic food.
  • There is a serious threat to the fight against antibiotic resistance
  • Our homeopathic and holistic vets are having their livelihoods threatened
  • RCVS Council is failing to recognise the evidence that CAM therapies work
The ability of owners to treat their own animals with homeopathy is not affected. The sole use of CAM is likely affected but it is important to remember conventional treatment is not confined to medicines and surgery. Physiotherapy is used too, especially in rehabilitation.

The organic argument is misleading. Farmers are unaffected by the RCVS statement. Although homeopathy supporters may not like it, the implicit scope of homeopathy is for minor conditions. CAM4Animals has a faq page where it selectively quotes EU organic regulations. It gets other things wrong too.

There are various approaches to preventing antibiotic resistance. With regards to animals, better husbandry is one. The development of new vaccines will help. Not just for bacterial diseases - preventing viral diseases prevents secondary infection. Homeopathy is not one.

As for the livelihoods of vets being threatened? Not really. They are still qualified vets. A lot of BAHVS members do conventional treatment too.

CAM4Animals do not seem to understand what evidence is.

They call for -
  • A full retraction of the statement on CAM
  • An acknowledgement that animal guardians have the right to choose homeopathy and CAM as the primary treatment approach
  • An open and honest debate about what natural medicine can do for animal health
And they are concerned that -
  • RCVS Council has stepped outside of its remit and Royal Charter. The RCVS is there to regulate the profession and NOT to stop its members from making qualified, clinical decisions.
  • RCVS Council statement was influenced by certain Council members who are supported and associated with a network of organisations committed to discredit all CAM practitioners.
  • There was no consultation with the experts of veterinary homeopathic medicine, the British Association for Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS)​​.
This is very helpful. The objects of the College are -
to set, uphold and advance veterinary standards, and to promote, encourage and advance the study and practice of the art and science of veterinary medicine, in the interests of the health and welfare of animals and in the wider public interest.
The Charter grants the RCVS Council the powers to make rules. The Council is partly elected by members of the RCVS and partly appointed. The statement was the subject of much discussion over several meetings.

Can anyone be an expert in something that has no evidence of efficacy?

CAM4Animals says CAM includes -
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Herbal Remedies
  • Homeopathy
  • Massage Therapies, e.g. Bowen, Galen Myotherapy
Veterinary physiotherapy is not considered CAM ( an "allied health profession") and the profession wants statutory regulation. Hydrotherapy and some massage techniques would be in scope but not Bowen. Chiropractic offers nothing over physiotherapy.
Herbal products are treated like any other products. They require an MA [Marketing Authorisation] if they are medicinal by presentation or function. For example, a product containing pyrethrum, pyrethrins or alkaloids, such as digoxin from Digitalis sp., would be considered medicinal by function.
"By presentation" means if claims to treat/cure are made.

CAM4Animals say raw feeding and dietary supplements are under threat. The former doesn't make any sense. The issue with supplements are the marketing claims.

The website has photos of the second BAHVS march and a video. Some of the faces are familiar (Mani Norland?). Note different branding from the first "Stand Up 4 Homeopathy" instead of "Save Veterinary Homeopathy" and use of BAHVS logo. Claims of nearly 200 hundred supporters are made but eyewitness accounts suggest less. Note no obvious CAM4Animals branding anywhere.

The news page reveals only two stories. CAM4Animals presented the RCVS with a document that purportedly is a response to the evidence used to reach position statement. This is curious as the RCVS cite a lack of evidence for homeopathy. The document is not in the public domain. Its contents are unknown. It seems to have been delivered by "Sara" and "Jackie". To be fair, the Facebook page is primary medium for "news".

CAM4Animals has a Twitter account, Facebook page and Instagram account. Its social media output is mostly anecdote and misinformation. It boosts 4Homeopathy/BHA related campaigns/propaganda but no clear links to CAM4Animals. It boosts posts by its own members.

Who are CAM4Animals?
We are a group of concerned animal guardians and professionals who feel strongly that any threat to our freedom of choice for our animals must be contested. We support the British Association for Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS) official campaign to retract the RCVS statement.
The only name to appear on the website is lay homeopath Sara Kernohan. What looks to be a list of members and their roles was uncovered. They are a mixture of lay homeopaths, raw feeders, canine enthusiasts, some vets and random others. CEASE therapy and anti-vaccination in there too. The list will not be reproduced here. 
SURVEILLANCE- (probably best to go undercover with an 'alternative' profile/Avatar): - 'like' all their pages, sign up to all their blogs and forums, and screenshot any and everything that they post that may incriminate them or show their true colours. SPECIFICALLY DANNY CHAMBERS.
Ad hominem and what are the screenshots for? Some of social media accounts involved are very obvious. 
DEFENDING- either as yourself or as your 'alt-profile' - this means watching the RCVS page, VetSurgeon, VetNurse, and any other pages that have gloated about the RCVS statement and, - where a sceptic is spewing bile or attacking pro-CAM comments etc, - asking questions so that their true agenda is revealed. It is obvious that there is no point appealing to their better nature but we can trip them up. I will put together a list of questions we can ask that will put them on the spot. There is no point posting links to positive homeopathy research etc. - we know they won't read them and will just continue to troll us. Our strategy will be to keep asking questions like a barrister. We won't allow their lies to remain undefended or for them to attack CAM vets or clients.What we want to show is that they are nasty pieces of work, out to discredit all CAM and that they cannot hide behind the lie that they are 'concerned about the wee, furry animals'!
Projection? Social media is not an adversarial court. 

Other roles include -

  • Seek and store evidence supporting homeopathy. To lead and encourage other homeopaths to become involved. Provide easy info for homeopaths to share.
  • Seeking and storing information on the lack of evidence base in drugs and vax.
As well as badgering various people, boosting the petition and the crowdfunding - although little evidence of the latter.

Friday, 23 November 2018

UK Homeopathy Organisations #2

previous post looked at UK homeopathy organisations most closely linked to medical homeopathy. This looks at other organisations.

There is no accusation of conspiracy. At most, an attempt to create an illusion of more organisations than there are.

Although 4Homeopathy does have a website, it's not particularly informative. 
Our intention is to be a central “hub” for accurate information on current campaigns to retain access to homeopathy and details on how you can get involved and make your voice heard. Without public and patient support we will not be successful.
This article from Andy Lewis's Quackometer blog is from 2015 but it clearly explains what lies behind 4Homeopathy and some of its activities. It provides useful context.

This from the School of Homeopathy details some of the activities of 4Homeopathy. IMani Norland is a key player. Em Colley has contributed a lot of content. Colley does not grasp that social media can be considered advertising. Colley also had a run in with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding CEASE therapy. Beyond that difficult to say who is directly involved and does what.

The groups involved with 4Homeopathy are -
  • Alliance of Registered Homeopaths
  • British Homeopathic Association
  • British Association of Homeopathic Manufacturers
  • British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons
  • Faculty of Homeopathy
  • Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
  • Homeopathy Action Trust
  • Homeopathic Course Providers Forum
  • Homeopathic Research Institute
  • Society of Homeopaths
There are links to groups in Australia (Australian Homeopathic Association) and Hong Kong. It is known that Prof. Aaron To Ka Lun has donated money via different organisations. He is not a professor.

The campaigns that 4Homepathy and the linked groups seem to promote are -
  • "Homeopathy works for me"
  • A directory of homeopaths
  • Attacking the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons stance on CAM
  • Supporting strange US groups re FDA enforcement policy on homeopathic drugs
  • "Release the First Report"
  • A petition to have the Wikipedia entry for homeopathy changed
  • "Saving" NHS homeopathy
There's a problem with "Homeopathy works for me" - a correct formation would be I believe Homeopathy worked for me in the past. Some previous celebrity testimonials in which state they only use homeopathy have turned out to be untrue. BHA has long used celebrity testimonials and seem to be the source. 

Some of these testiminonials, including mere patient ones, are likely in breach of the CAP Code, consumer protection law and possibly medicines regulations. A site containing a database of practitioners would very likely be considered marketing more so given practitioners can add content. It promotes the businesses of individual homeopaths.

The Snooks
The health benefits of homeopathy are now being championed a by a new group of supporters, the Snooks. These colourful cartoon characters appear in three short animated films aimed at providing the general public with basic information about the complementary therapy. The 40-second films were created in partnership with director/animator Sam Norland, (Mani's brother) who has previously worked for such notable clients as the V&A, Virgin Media, Nissan and Hat Trick Productions. Launched in 2014 the films deliver three simple messages: About homeopathy, The benefits of homeopathy and What is it like to see a homeopath: Watch The Snooks.

Who are these videos are aimed at? Are they effective at reaching beyond supporters of homeopathy?

There is also Homeopathy Awareness Week which is separate from World Homeopathy Awareness Week but at the same time. It used to generate more media interest than it has recently. 4Homeopathy produce a lot of leaflets/posters, some of which can be downloaded.

The strange world of supporters of homeopathy for animals will be the subject of a future post but it is known that some of those involved are anti-vaxxers, push CEASE therapy and engage in very questionable tactics. Whether 4Homeopathy are aware of the nature of these people is unknown.

The US situation was described here (but things have moved on a little since that was written - there will likely be an update) but why 4Homeopathy are having anything to do with this is unclear. It's US specific, has no impact on anywhere else and those involved in the campaign are very odd to say the least. What 4Homeopathy's involvement is unclear but it is know that Norland has been to the US. 

4Homeopathy mention a petition directed at Jimmy Wales but there are a number of petitions out there. Some closed, some still open. It's not clear what which one they are referring to but as they don't give a link, it is likely closed. 4Homeopathy et al obviously do not understand the principles of Wikipedia. Whilst Wikipedia is far from perfect, it can be argued that some of the articles at least represent a consensus scientific/medical position.

The #ReleaseTheFirstReport website clearly states that is managed by 4Homeopathy. It has a Twitter account, Facebook page (which is especially bonkers), Instagram account and YouTube channel. The timing of post suggests that someone in the UK is making them. This campaign will be discussed in greater detail below. 

The only campaign directed mentioned on 4Homeopathy site is the NHS one and the items were posted by BHA employ Sasha El Masry. BHA and Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine attempts to "save" NHS homeopathy have failed. 4Homeopathy and the lay homeopathy organisations did push the BHA's petition and crowdfunding, the Society of Homeopaths even contributed £5,000 to the BHA they could ill afford.

4Homeopathy organised "A United Voice". This report is puffery but does not say the meeting was originally at Resource for London but ended up at CAN Mezzanine. The flyer gives an Society of Homeopaths (SoH) email address and the booking was via the SoH. From the report. 
We need to hold on to this energy to help build a bold and beautiful future for homeopathy in the UK.
Cristal Sumner from BHA, Em Colley and someone from CAM4Animals spoke.
Our Profession, Our brand - workshop day
UK homeopathy unites to plan for the future. 150 people, 100+ ideas, 12 projects, 11 organisations, 1 great day. On Saturday 7 March 2015 one hundred and fifty homeopaths and students gathered in London for a unique event to help shape the future of the profession. Over the course of the day over 100 ideas were collected and by close 12 key projects had been shared and agreed upon. For the first time in the history of UK homeopathy, every sector of the profession was assembled at one event, unified by a common goal – to plan for the future.
4Homeopathy talk about media training. 
The School of Homeopathy paid for a group of 8 spokespeople across registers and expertise to be trained extensively and who are now better prepared for media interviews. Use of the toolkit is an essential prerequisite for those engaging with the media and the arguments have been road tested by experts.
Homeopathy finds a voice
Homeopathy finds a voice
The School of Homeopathy and the Homeopathy Action Trust filmed 8 media trained individuals on topics of interest to the public, patients, and those undecided about homeopathy – to view these, visit: 
As a coordinator of UK homeopathy PR activity, it is not particularly effective. Whatever guidance/training it gives is either often wrong or ignored. Some groups and individuals spout nonsense is not "on brand". There are a groups and individuals outside of that circle who do the "brand" more damage than good. 

There isn't an obvious associated limited company or charity. It is not always clear who "owns" which websites/social media accounts. 

Donations to  4Homeopathy have come from -
Note no mention of donations after 2015.

There is a shop on the FindAHomeopath website (PayPal account is called "Find a Homeopath") but "For larger quantities, please e-mail for a quote". Helios do have storage and fulfilment facilities. It's possible to make donations here on 4Homeopathy website (same Paypal account).

School of Homeopathy
It was formed in 1981 by Misha Norland. His son, Mani, took over as Principal in 2009. A limited company, In-Light Limited, was formed in 2003. The directors are Mani and Amanda Jane Norland. Both are homeopaths. Mani has a background in "brand management" or something similar, Amanda in graphic design. Mani's bio on the Faculty page -
Mani is a founding member of Homeopathy Course Providers Forum and a founding member of the 4Homeopathy (the pro homeopathy group of 11 organsations in the UK). With this group Mani has been instrumental in the re-branding of homeopathy in the UK with the development of a new logo, the findahomeopath website, celebrity campaigns and media intervention. Mani also teaches students in the 4th year about setting up in practice. In his ‘other life’ Mani worked in London as a brand and business consultant for over 10 years. He advised board level directors on business creation, vision and image. Mani is passionate about the positive promotion of homeopathy to the general public and has written many consumer facing articles on homeopathy, lectured internationally and been interviewed on BBC radio several times.
It has a Twitter account Facebook page, Pinterest account(!) and YouTube channel. Its activity most promotes the School although it does boost some of 4Homeopathy messages.

The School of Health has a separate website but it is part of the same company. It is a re-branding of Alternative Training. It offers online courses in "Nutrition Therapy", Yoga, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and something called "Medical Science

It commissioned a poll and produced the laughable National Health Survey

Homeopathy Action Trust
The Homeopathy Act Trust (HAT) is very closely linked to the SoH. Indeed, it was once called "The Society of Homeopaths Trust Company Limited". It's stated mission is  -
  • increasing awareness of homeopathy as a valid and effective healthcare option
  • promoting education and research
  • providing information and support to patients, students and practitioners
  • galvanising and unifying the homeopathic community
  • fostering a culture of clarity, openness, inclusivity and altruism
  • working independently and in partnership with other organisations to fund healthcare and research projects
The current trustees/directors are -
  • Jacqueline Anne BECKER
  • Diane Christine BRINDLEY
  • Mary Therese HARCOURT-ELLIS
  • Simon Mark TAFFLER
Taffler has been mentioned on this blog re CEASE therapy and Homeopathy international. Some previous trustees/directors are familiar - UK homeopathy is a small world. 

The Quackometer blog discusses HAT's attempts to define the "brand" of homeopathy here. That article is well worth reading but this video explains a lot.

The video does not reveal -
The purpose of the weekend was to find and define the "brand" homeopathy. Using a range of different modes: drumming, singing, drawing a life model, theatre, small group discussion, we were guided though the weekend. Fascinating to experience how the material developed, totally based on what we as homeopaths actually said, and how Debbie [Taffler] and Duncan facilitated, and fairly and accurately represented the profession.
Homeopathy is not a "brand". Individual homeopaths are not running franchises of McHomeopathy. Homeopathy has doctrinal divisions. There is the medical/lay homeopath split but the splits go beyond that. Some homeopaths are difficult to say the least and hardly cooperative or team players. Building a brand from a non self-consistent fiction is hard. PR can not fix a product, organisation or movement that is defective.

4Homeopathy formed after this. HAT did provide assistance to 4Homeopathy in the past but had to lay off staff. 

HAT is notorious for funding the activities of Western homeopaths in Africa. This is beyond the scope of this post. It is well documented elsewhere.

Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century
It's difficult to tell if H:MC21 is still active. The Charity Commission record suggests that it is moribund. Its past activities can be best described as eccentric but it can be argued some of them prefigure 4Homeopathy's activities.

H:MC21 created Homeopathy worked for me. It is very amateur. The antipathy towards the ASA is not yet fully formed in terms of the "ASA is just a limited company".

Homeopathy Research Institute
HRI is both a charity and limited company. It conducts no research, it mostly gives grants. In the UK "institute" is a sensitive word re company names -
Approval to use this word is normally only given to fully functioning established organisations that are already functioning as an institute, but operate under a different name. The range of activities may vary, but institutes are organisations that typically undertake research at the highest level, or are professional bodies of the highest standing.
Records don't reveal any name change. HRI isn't a professional body. 

The trustees -
  • Elizabeth Anita THOMPSON
  • Alexander Louis TOURNIER
  • Petter VIKSVEEN
  • Charles Jose WANSBROUGH
The Scientific Advisory Committee -
  • Dr Stephan Baumgartner
  • Prof Dr Iris Bell
  • Prof Dr Paolo Bellavite
  • Prof Dr Christian Endler
  • Dr Jennifer Jacobs
  • Dr Robert Mathie
  • Dr Elizabeth Thompson
  • Dr Alexander Tournier
HRI employ Rachel Roberts as CEO but there is no sign of other employees.

HRI collaborate with the Karl und Veronica Carstens-Stiftung on a database of homeopathic research. There are other databases/search engines that can return research. Criteria for inclusion in the database are unclear.

HRI funds various research projects.

Investigating the physico-chemical properties of high dilutions seems to involve solvatochromic dyes and spectroscopy.  What Steven Cartwright seems to be claiming in this paper is that a solvatochromic dye emits different spectra mixed with different 50M homeopathic solutions. 50M is a 10^150 (one with a 150 zeros after) - way beyond the molar limit. The probability of any molecule of the original substance remaining is zero for practical purposes. The paper mentions DiagnOx which is a serviced lab. Cartwright is not employed there. He rents space.

The complexity of water fuels much research in this highly active field. Current investigations suggest there may be a great deal yet to discover about its properties. Water continues to surprise us. The more we explore its characteristics, the more properties we discover. 
The Water Research Lab aims to investigate the full potential of water using a multidisciplinary approach involving theoretical physics, mathematical modelling and experimental exploration.
They use - 
  • Near infra-red spectroscopy
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • Dynamic Light Scattering
  • Conductivity
  • Thermogravimetry
  • Mass-spectrometry
  • EM Signal Analysis
Alex Tournier is the "lead investigator". As a trustee of HRI, there is a potential conflict of interest and breach of charity law. The Charity Commission have been known to act. There are other governance questions.

The utility of searching for (very indirect) evidence of a putative mechanism of action for homeopathy must be questioned in the absence of evidence for action. The impression is of indulgence - "boys playing with toys". 

Money associated with Robert Mathie came from the Manchester Homeopathy Clinic. It is for systematic reviews. This money was with the BHA until Mathie left. Mathie's work is not well regarded (the comments are worth reading).  

The Manchester Homeopathy Clinic is a mystery. It possibly goes back to  1860. It moved several times but ended up at 13 Brunswick Street, Manchester. In 1987 it was run by Dr. George Burns. No sign exists now. Burns is long retired.

HRI funded Phillipa Fibert's ADHD research to the tune of over £100,000. Fibert has been mentioned on this blog before. Before the STAR project, Fibert conducted a case series jointly funded by HRI and the Turners Court Youth Trust.

The Protocol for the STAR (Sheffield Treatments for ADHD) project makes for worrying reading. Clare Relton is named as a member of the Management Committee and Steering group and helped devise the project. Relton was a trustee of when grant agreed - a potential conflict of interest. The SoH published a puff piece on it. Enquiries are being made.

Trustee Petter Vikseen also received money from HRI whilst a trustee for his PhD research into homeopathic treatment of depression. Relton is involved. Potential conflict of interest yet again. £10,000 was given to HRI for the project by another student.

There is other research too but it is not interesting.

HRI had ambitious plans to gain funding from an uninterested public.  Most of HRI's funding has comes from the Pen Shell Project. It is funded by sale of artworks belonging to HRI trustee Charles Wansbrough. Wansbrough has long has an interest in more esoteric forms of CAM. This archived version of his website mentions "biolumentics".
HRI runs biennial conferences. The last was in Malta (which is ironic). This report on the conference reveals 15 homeopaths and researchers were given money to attend from the Manchester Homeopathy Clinic via HRI Previous conferences were held in Rome and Barcelona.

The HRI also were involved with (if not the primary driver of) attempts to "debunk" the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) report on homeopathy. This is a very murky business. It would appeal that the Ombudsman complaint exists but who submitted it is unclear.

There are many reasons to discard a first draft. It is strange to suggest that it was suppressed because it somehow proves homeopathy works. No report that is based on a review of existing studies could do that. 

It is not a tactic that promotes homeopathy to the public. It plays to existing supporters.

Just One Drop
From the School of Homeopathy -
On the 6th April 2017 4H hosted a red carpet VIP event and the world premier of Just One Drop a documentary about homeopathy. The event took place in London's Soho at the prestigious Curzon Soho Cinema. Celebrities, media, MPs and healthcare leaders watch the movie and engaged in a Q&A discussion about UK homeopathy after the movie. The premier was perfectly timed to create a buzz just before World Heath Day on the 7th April and Homeopathy Awareness Week on the 10th April.

After the premier 4H continued to promote the movie and it went on to have many public screenings up and down the country. In the future the movie will be available to stream online.
Alex is a physicist who contracted an illness that conventional medicine could not help. After trying homeopathy, which he called “the least impressive medicine,” he got better. It became his life passion to figure out how it worked. He founded the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), a charitable organization in London whose mission is to explore the science behind homeopathy. RACHEL ROBERTS was studying biology when she first heard about homeopathy and thought it was “bollocks.” After investigating further she changed her mind and later joined Alex as the CEO of HRI.
They are in the film. Roberts has turned up to Q&A sessions.

It's American and there aren't strong links to the UK but in this video Roberts speaks about the Ombudsman complaint. It links to 4Homeopathy and a Mathie systematic review. 

The Twitter account says an "epilogue" is coming. It has a photo of Alex Tournier. 

None of the campaigns and initiatives of UK homeopathy organisations have amounted to very much. But would things be worse if they had done nothing?

Monday, 19 November 2018

UK Homeopathy Organisations #1

The world of UK homeopathy is very small. Much smaller than some make it out to be and it is likely shrinking. It's not exactly surprising that most of the groups involved are linked in some way. What might surprise some is how very closely linked some groups are. It might also surprise how few people are involved. 

The amateurish of much of what goes on, the poor decision making, lack of governance, bad alliances and often inward focus will be familiar to those who have ever had dealings with badly run small voluntary/community/political groups. 

This post looks at those organisations that are more associated with medical homeopaths. Those organisations more closely associated with lay homeopathy will be the subject of a future post.

British Homeopathic Association
This is the oldest and best funded homeopathy charity in the UK. It was founded in 1905. It also absorbed another charity the Homeopathic Trust (although there have been two charities of that name). 
The principal objects of the charity are to promote and develop the study and practice of homeopathy and to advance education and research in the theory and practice of homeopathy provided that the useful results of such research shall be published. 
The British Homeopathic Association’s overall priority is to ensure that homeopathy is available to all through: 
1. providing information about homeopathy 
2. developing the evidence base for homeopathy 
3. encouraging the education and training in homeopathy of healthcare professionals 
4. ensuring patients have access to homeopathy 
5. fundraising to support all of the above
The BHA is also a limited company. Its directors are -
  • Cristal Heather SUMNER
  • John Howard MORGAN
  • Richard Charles O'QUINN
  • Robert ORCHARD
  • Gary James SMYTH
  • Elizabeth Jane TUCKER
  • Margaret WYLLIE
Sumner is not a Trustee though. She is the Chief Executive Officer and appears to have been since 2000. Something that is very noticeable is that over time Sumner has become a lot more visible, strident even. There are a number of other staff employed by the British Homeopathic Association (BHA), some of whom are "shared" with the Faculty of Homeopathy (FoH).

John Morgan is a pharmacist by trade. He is the owner of Helios Homoeopathy as well being a member and director of the Society of Homeopaths (SoH). Richard O'Quinn seems to have a background in marketing and is also a director of the SoH. Orchard is a journalist who has written in favour of homeopathy. Smyth is a GP with various other interests as well as being acting President of the FoH. Tucker - it is not clear who she is. Margaret Wyllie's background would appear to be teaching but has long been a supporter of homeopathy and formed a Lothian Homeopathy Group in the dim and distant past (with support of the BHA).

Little is known about employees of the BHA other than Sumner who has become more prominent over the years.

In terms of providing information, the BHA has a website. It has a presence on social media - Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Notionally, it has a YouTube channel but it actually belongs to the FoH. It also produces a magazine Health & Homeopathy as well as having an online bookshop. It used to produce various different leaflets. It runs various public events. It's not clear if it still does, but it used to turn up to Crufts, Supreme Cat Show and the Chelsea Flower Show. It does have some involvement in Homeopathy Awareness Week but in the past tended to do this on its own and to be fair it did manage to gain some media coverage before the mainstream media became more critical of homeopathy. 

The BHA talks about research but currently doesn't seem to do any. This maybe because there is now the Homeopathic Research Institute (HRI). It has a section on its website and sometimes has the odd news item. An "evidence base" it is not.

Historically, the BHA has funded research of various kinds. Partly this was due to receipt of income that was specifically for research but generally the amounts were small. There was also at one point funding of a lecturer post at Liverpool University for several years.

This article tells us something very interesting about the history of the BHA - it was initially set up to pay for the homeopathic education of doctors in the UK. It still does but not to the same extent. For the years 2016/17 and 2015/16 grants of £100,000 where made to the FoH but before that the annual grant was £50,000 (although back in 2007/08 it was higher and at its peak in 2000, it was £345,000 although prior to that much lower).

Much is made of patient access to NHS homeopathy. The website contains very out of date information on how to access it. It's known that the BHA used to produce leaflets. 

The BHA used to fund more clinics than it does now. There seems to have been a hope that local NHS bodies would start to provide (some) funding once they were established but nothing much ever came of this and the original clinics seem to have closed. There was never much enthusiasm for homeopathy on the part of these bodies but from the mid 2000's onwards, they become much more negative.

Reading historical reports reveals that it supported local campaigns against Primary Care Trusts (the predecessors of Clinical Commissioning Groups) cutting/restricting funding of secondary care homeopathy, the closure of clinics as a result of those cuts but it doesn't seem as if the BHA gave these groups any significant amounts of money. What the BHA has done in the past is organise letter writing campaigns, petitions and the like. 

The BHA has in the past tried to engage with NHS bodies, Department of Health etc but it would seem without any real success. There is a sense of the BHA becoming more frustrated and possibly antagonistic as the tide of opinion has turned against homeopathy.

The latest annual report mentions the BHA's intention to apply for judicial review but it doesn't say anything about what monies would be allocated to this. The judicial review ultimately failed and despite crowdfunding has ended up costing the BHA a lot of money. This has been discussed at great length in previous posts but it does represent very poor judgement.

Most of the BHA's income comes from bequests and return on investments. Whether depending on bequests is sustainable in the long term is unknown, especially if the popularity of homeopathy is declining. It is possible to become a Friend of the BHA - which gets you a subscription to their print magazine, an email newsletter and invitations to meetings.

Faculty of Homeopathy
The FoH is both a membership body and training provider for regulated medical professionals who practice homeopathy. It gives out various qualifications but these are not recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC). It is not possible to be listed on the GMC register as a homeopathy specialist. The FoH did manage to become a revalidation body and much was made of this but it's not recognition of homeopathy.

Its history dates back to 1843 and the creation of the British Homeopathy Society. It became the FoH in 1943 and was incorporated in 1950. At a casual glance, this might look like Government recognition of homeopathy but the real story is more complicated - in short medical schools wanted nothing to do with homeopathy. For much of its history, the FoH has had a dismissive attitude towards lay homeopaths. Publicly, all the various homeopathy organisations are united these days but old attitudes die hard.

The FoH is a statutory corporation. It's not a register company, nor is it a charity. As a result, its accounts are not filed anywhere. Statutory corporations do not appear to be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. It used to publish an Annual Review but the last one that is publicly available is from 2013.

It is also curious to note that the FoH used to publish details of its Council. This is no longer the case. The most recent list is from the end of 2017 -
  • President: Dr Helen Beaumont 
  • Immediate Past-President: Dr Sara Eames
  • Vice President: Dr Elizabeth Thompson
  • Treasurer: Dr Gary Smyth
  • Medical Dean: Julie Geraghty
  • Nursing Dean: (to be confirmed)
  • Pharmacy Dean: Dr Lee Kayne
  • Veterinary Dean: Mr Peter Gregory
  • Podiatry Dean: Mr Tariq Khan
  • Members’ Committee Convener: Dr Patricia Ridsdale
  • NHS Primary Care representative: Dr Ralf Schmalhorst
  • NHS Secondary Care representative: Dr Helmut Roniger
  • Independent Practice representative: Dr Jonathan Hardy
The current iteration the FoH website looks somewhat broken but there is non-linked to directory that has what looks like photos of staff who are -
  • Dr Gabriella Day
  • Mr Tony Pinkus
  • Dr Jonathan Hardy
  • Dr Patricia Ridsdale
  • Mr Peter Gregory
  • Dr Gary Smyth
  • Dr Jacqueline Mardon
  • Dr Sara Eames
  • Dr Julie Geraghty
  • Ms Lesley Peatfield
  • Dr Helen Beaumont
This list does look very similar to the Council list. Pinkus could be the new Pharmacy Dean (he is owner of Ainsworths - a homeopathy manufacturer), Peatfield the new Podiatry Dean. Day could be the NHS Primary Care representative.

Elizabeth Thompson's current status is not entirely known. There is a National Centre for Integrative Medicine formerly the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine (PCIM) which she is notionally head of. She was also involved with the defunct Bristol Homeopathic Hospital. Thompson and PCIM will be discussed in a future post.

The BHA and the FoH have always been closely linked. The BHA says they share some staff. In some places, Cristal Sumner is said to be CEO of FoH but LinkedIn suggests it's Greg White.

The FoH offers all sorts of training courses and various levels of membership to certain statutorily regulated professions -
  • Doctors
  • Veterinary Surgeons
  • Dentists
  • Nurses
  • Podiatrists
  • Osteopaths
  • Chiropractors
The majority of homeopathic products are unlicensed medicines, they can only be prescribed by doctors, vets and to a degree dentists. Nurses, even nurse independent prescribers, can not prescribe them, whatever prescribing rights they have. Podiatrists have limited prescribing rights. Osteopaths and chiropractors have none. Only registered homeopathic medicines can be supplied. It offers international courses but some of the countries mentioned have a (near) prohibition on the use of homeopathy by doctors.

Worryingly, the FoH accredits qualifications from the Kenia School of Integrated Medicine (which seems to have been set up by Dutch homeopaths). 

The FoH mention funding research but research doesn't reveal anything major. It sometimes emails members/post news items asking members to become involved in third party "research".

The FoH talks about homeopathy education in medical schools. At one point, there was funding of a lecturer post at Liverpool University but it seems from his LinkedIn profile Martien Brands did somewhat more than teach homeopathy. It is not clear whether any homeopathy education occurs in medical schools anymore but it seems unlikely 

BHA annual reports reveal that the FoH commissioned the report Go Figure: Making the Economic Case for Homeopathy from Viewforth Consulting (generally deals with education) which sank without trace.

The FoH has a Twitter account, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and Youtube channel

The FoH's income is derived from membership and examination fees as well as grants from the BHA and others. It loses money on its magazine, journal and Congress. It does not appear to have much in the way of reserves. It does not seem to earn any income from investments.

It seems to be based at the same address as the BHA.

Blackie Foundation Trust
The FoH also receives money from the Blackie Foundation Trust although this seems to be intermittent. Margery Blackie was part of the Royal Medical Household - note part. There is often an implication by supporters that the Royal Family are entirely dependent on homeopathy or that the Homeopathic Physician is all there is. Whilst certain members of the Royal Family are known to be keen on homeopathy, they do use conventional medicine.

The Trust has considerable investments and it mostly uses the income from that to give grants. There is very little of other income. The trustees are -
  • Hamish Avory Stuart Andrew Blackie
  • Jeremy David Bedford Nickson 
  • Dr Sara Ann Eames
There was a website but it isn't very illuminating. 

Barcapel Foundation
Older UK readers may be amused to learn that the original money for the Barcapel Foundation came for Kattomeat and Kennomeat.

It's never given a huge amount of money to the BHA/FoH.

Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
This is again a surprisingly affluent charity. The Friends' stated aims are -
  • To educate the public, health professions and policy makers of the needs of the hospital’s patients, with particular emphasis on homeopathy, and to encourage interest and support in the hospital.
  • To give and exchange information and advice and to promote education in all matters relating to hospitals and hospital management, to promote research and to disseminate the results.
  • To publish, or contribute to the publication of, any papers, books, periodicals, reports or other documents relating to homeopathy and other recognised complementary therapies.
  • To hold conferences, meetings, lectures, exhibitions and discussions.
  • To supplement the service provided by the hospital for the health, welfare and comfort of the patients, by the provision of facilities and equipment.
  • To provide, or assist in the provision of amenities for patients and staff.
One thing that is clear is that the Friends go well beyond these aims unless the third point is interpreted in incredible broad terms. What the Friends are doing getting involved in veterinary homeopathy is unknown but it appears that all of the news items were written by a former member of the BHA/FoH staff. It is atypical for hospital Friends groups to address anything beyond patients of the hospital and the local community.
  • Chairman: Mrs Enid Segall
  • Vice Chairman: Ms Cynthia Burton
  • Treasurer: Mr Renny Clark
  • Mrs Valerie Palmer
  • Ms Jennifer Hurstfield
  • Mrs Ruth Cohen
  • Dr Ann Bowden
  • Ms Caroline Ford (Co-opted May 2018) 
Ex Officio
  • Administrator: Mr John Pyle
  • Projects Manager: Ms Sato Liu

Segall is former General Secretary of the BHA - which is presumably what the CEO role was called in the past. Sato Liu is interesting in that she was formerly involved with the infamous Princes Foundation for Integrated Health.

The Friends provide a fair amount of information on their website but a lot of it is out of date especially when it comes to accessing treatment at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM). This will be dealt with in a future post on the end of NHS homeopathy in England. This potted history of the RHLIM is interesting.

They do spend money on supplying the RHLIM and its patients with various things but it has spent a lot of money campaigning to preserve access to NHS services at the RHLIM. 

The Friends have surprising financial reserves. It has been in existence since 1975 and the reserves are likely the result of bequests etc. The Friends do generate some income from donations and a snack bar.

Whilst it does give an address at Great Ormond Street, it also lists the same address as the BHA.

European Federation of Homeopathic Patient Associations
The EFHPA's stated aims are -
  • to represent patients in Europe using or seeking homeopathic treatment
  • to defend these patients’ rights and interests
  • to work towards homeopathy becoming integrated into EU healthcare policy
  • to raise awareness of the benefits of homeopathy with EU healthcare authorities
  • to lobby for harmonisation in the implementation of the EU Directives pertinent to homeopathic medicines throughout Europe leading to equal availability of the treatments and medicines to all EU citizens
  • to support the founding and development of national homeopathic patients’ organisations.
It's board consists of -
  • Enid Segall, President, UK 
  • Fabienne Gigandet, Vice-President, Switzerland 
  • Wim Menkveld, Treasurer, Netherlands 
  • Sato Liu, Secretary, UK 
  • Jennifer Hurstfield, Member of the Board, UK 
  • Cristal Sumner, Member of the Board , UK 
  • Miquel Peralta, Member of the Board, Catalonia, Spain
Something that is curious is that some of the supposed patient organisations here are nothing of the sort. The EFPHA is an off-shoot of the European Council for Homeopathy (ECH).

It isn't really clear if the EFPHA does very much beyond having an annual conference.

It has a Twitter account and Facebook page. It gives both the address of the BHA and the Friends.

European Committee for Homeopathy
The ECH is an organisation for medical homeopaths. Not lay homeopaths. Its stated goals are -
  • Promoting the scientific development of homeopathy;
  • ensuring high standards in the education, training and practice of homeopathy by medical doctors;
  • harmonising professional standards in homeopathic practice across Europe;
  • providing high-quality homeopathic care in a safe medical context;
  • integrating high-quality homeopathy into European healthcare.
Harmonising professional standards is nigh on impossible. Some European countries permit/tolerate lay homeopathy. Others take an incredibly dim view of doctors practicing homeopathy. Its Council are -
  • Dr Hélène Renoux President
  • Dr Sara Eames Vice-President
  • Dr Jaume Costa General Secretary
  • Dr Arlette Blanchy Treasurer
  • Ms Caroline Vandeschoor Documentation Subcommittee Co-Ordinator
  • Dr Dora Patchova Education Subcommittee Co-Ordinator
  • Ms Cristal Sumner Patients Subcommittee Co-Ordinator
  • lse Muchitsch Mag. pharm. Pharmacy Subcommittee Co-Ordinator
  • Dr Hetty Buitelaar Political Subcommittee Co-Ordinator
  • Dr Jean Pierre Jansen Provings Subcommittee Co-Ordinator
  • Dr Tiziana di Giampietro Research Subcommittee Co-Ordinator
Why is has a patient sub-committee when the EFHPA exists is unknown.

What the ECH actually does is a bit of a mystery. It liaises with other homeopathy organisations, it has meetings and a conference but that's about it. It's possible that it does have a lobbying role at EU level but 

The ECH has a Twitter account, Facebook page, LinkedIn account and a Youtube channel. It is based in Belgium.

In theory there is also the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathical Internationalis (LMHI) but it appears moribund and dominated by non-Europeans.

All the social media accounts of the above seem to post the same stories and repost each others stories. That many of them list the BHA's address as a contact address, that there are so many linked people does raise the question as to whether the BHA is behind these accounts (and possibly others).