Friday, 14 December 2018

Non-compliant Society of Homeopaths members

A previous post discussed the condition placed on the reaccreditation of the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) regarding CEASE therapy.

In short, the SoH has until 31/12/2018 to ensure that members' websites comply with the (weaselly worded) SoH position statements on CEASE therapy, vaccination and homeoprophylaxis.

SoH Position Statements
This is reproduced in full.
Homeopathic prophylaxis
The Society of Homeopaths has a clear policy on ‘homeoprophylaxis’ – it does not endorse the use of homeopathic medicines as an alternative to vaccination for the prevention of serious infectious diseases. 
The Society recommends that members of the public seek the advice of their GP, and/or relevant Department of Health guidelines, concerning vaccination and protection against disease whilst travelling. 
Currently there is no homeopathic alternative to vaccination or anti-malarial drugs which has been proven beyond doubt to be clinically effective. It is therefore unethical for a homeopath to advise a patient against the use of conventional vaccines or anti-malarial drugs. 
The Society acknowledges that homeoprophylaxis is a controversial area of homeopathy which differs significantly from usual homeopathic practice and that the current level of scientific evidence on homeoprophylaxis (including historical clinical experience and contemporary research) is insufficient to make definitive claims of efficacy or effectiveness. 
There is sufficient research evidence to suggest that homeoprophylaxis may be effective in certain circumstances and the Society therefore supports further rigorous, ethical research to its use. 
The Society supports informed decision making in regard to vaccination. We recommend that patients seek advice from their GP, as well as organisations that specialise in providing information about this complex issue, so they can make an informed choice for themselves and their children. 
The Society of Homeopaths appreciates that its registered members use different methodologies and adjunctive approaches and embraces diversity within the homeopathic community. We consider diversity to be healthy and appropriate to the demands of an informed public. 
CEASE is a therapy designed by Dr Tinus Smits in the Netherlands. A number of Society members have been trained in CEASE and make reference to it in their marketing. While this is acceptable, members should be aware the title, meaning ‘Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression’ is misleading. RSHoms must not suggest that they are capable of a complete cure of autism as this would be unethical and in breach of the Code of Ethics. 
The Society does not endorse any aspects of CEASE therapy contrary to NHS guidance and nor should RSHoms, in particular on vaccination, homeopathic prophylaxis, and the use of dietary supplements. It is beyond standard homeopathic practice to provide advice on the use of supplements and therefore any guidance given should be in line with the NHS Guidelines
As previously discussed, this falls far short of the position that a professional organisation with a commitment to public health and safeguarding would take.

List of non-compliant members
This list is of SoH members who have CEASE therapy or the related Homeopathic Detox Therapy (HDT). Whilst there may be other members who do not comply with either the homeoprophylaxis or vaccination statement, it is difficult to determine who they are.

It is likely that the SoH will attempt to take the softest position with compliance. Whether this will satisfy the PSA is another matter and if history is anything to go by, they will complain and attempt to drag things out.

This list obviously contains members who have been discussed in the past. It is worth pointing out that the SoH have been provided with versions of this list. It isn't perfect.

Explanation indicates a listing on that website. That website is likely still non-compliant with Dutch advertising regulation. It would appear that the SoH think that a listing is not a problem. This is odd. Whether the PSA will agree with them is unknown. It might be better if SoH members requested listing removal. entry - some SoH members have a more detailed entry, which suggests a great interest in touting for business.

HDT? refers to whether a practitioner is listed on this website.

CEASE Therapy Claims? Examples of where more than a passing mention is made of CEASE. The claims vary. Only one page is recorded but there could be others.

Links to The ASA ruling against Teddington Homeopathy makes clear that such links are not permitted and the SoH should be aware of this. So linking to the CEASE therapy website is bad but having it link to an SoH member website is OK? The potential effect on consumer thinking is the same - they will have been exposed to "vaccines cause autism" and "autism can be cured".

Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression? Use of this phrase is expressly forbidden.

Vaccination cause autism etc? Even the mere implicitation of this is forbidden. Some SoH members have a tendency to ignore the clear guidance that has been given. Nor that the SoH has shown any signs of enforcement.

So what?
Placing details of (potentially) non-compliant member into the public domain is a deliberate attempt to force the SoH to get their members to comply and if they don't, start disciplinary action.

The list will be revisited in early January 2019 to see if compliance has occurred. 

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