MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

One of the questions that I hear regularly is: ‘What happened to your research unit at Exeter?’ Therefore it might be a good idea to put the full, shameful story on this blog.

After the complaint by Prince Charles’ secretary to my Vice Chancellor alleging that I had breached confidentiality over the Smallwood report, my University conducted a 13 months investigation into my actions. At the end of it, I was declared innocent as charged (it should have been clear from a 10 minute discussion that I had done nothing wrong: I had not disclosed any information from the report, and even if I had, it would have been a matter of public interest and medical ethics to blow the whistle. However, the Vice Chancellor never once bothered to talk to me.). Subsequently, all support that I had once enjoyed broke down, my staff’s contracts were terminated, and I eventually had to take early retirement (full details of this part of the story can be found in ‘A SCIENTIST IN WONDERLAND’).

A few months later, a new dean was appointed at my medical school. The new man seemed to have a lot more understanding for my situation than his predecessor. Provided that I accept to go into early retirement, he offered to re-employ me for one year (half time) to help him find a successor for my position.

I did accept because, above everything, I wanted to prevent the closure of my unit. We then developed criteria for advertising the post and conducted two rounds of advertisements. Several candidates applied but none them seemed suited in our view. Eventually we did find several experts who were promising; one even came to Exeter from abroad and had detailed talks with the dean and several other people.

However, Exeter was unwilling to equip my potential successor with any funds to speak of. The suggestion was to appoint the new chair with the onus to raise all the necessary funds himself. This is a proposition that no well-qualified academic at the professorial level can possibly find attractive. Consequently, the candidates all declined.

Meanwhile, there had been an initiative by several altruistic UK public figures and friends to raise funds for the new chair and thus save my unit from closure. Sadly, however, these activities did not generate in the necessary cash. When my year of half-time re-employment had expired, I left Exeter and my unit disappeared for good.

To the present day, I am not at all sure what the true intentions of Exeter had been during this final stage.

  • Was I offered re-employment simply to keep me sweet?
  • Did they fear that I would otherwise sue them or cause a public scandal?
  • Did they truly believe they could find a suitable successor?
  • If so, why did they not put up the money?

I do not expect to ever find conclusive answers for any of these questions. However, I do know what, in an ideal world, should have become of my unit. If it had been for me to decide, I would have equipped the chair with the necessary core funds and appointed an ethicist with a documented interest in alternative medicine as the new professor. I see two main reasons for this perhaps less than obvious choice:

  • In my experience, Exeter would greatly benefit from an ethicist to give them guidance on a range of matters.
  • After two decades of being involved in alternative medicine research, I have become convinced that this field foremost needs the input of a critical ethicist.

In case either of these last two statements puzzles you, I recommend you read ‘A SCIENTIST IN WONDERLAND’.

6 Responses to ‘What happened to your research unit at Exeter?’

  • HRH or not, Charlie’s a nasty wee turd, isn’t he?

    All the more reason for eliminating the monarchy: don’t kill them off … just make the lazy buggers work for a living.

  • It is widely known on many sites that Mr. Ernzst blames Charles and the Royals for his losing professional and academic standing making legitimate employment impossible. So I understand his bitterness.

    But he has also claimed that natural health care and homeopathy in particular played a major role in perpetuating Nazi atrocities. Could this have been a contributing factor in pissing off the Royals leading to his banishment since the Royals have Germanic bloodlines?

    Is this also why he has this compulsive passion to rid the world of homeopathy? After all, peddling a “woe is me, I’ve been wronged” book is not an easy slog.

    • 1) my name is not Ernzst
      2) I have not blamed ‘the Royals’ for anything
      3) as for Charles, the documented facts speak for themselves
      4) I am not bitter about what happened
      5) I never claimed that “natural health care and homeopathy in particular played a major role in perpetuating Nazi atrocities” – in fact, I do not even understand what you mean by this sentence; it does not make any sense to me
      6) I do not feel a “compulsive passion” to rid the world of homeopathy, and my book is not about homeopathy. perhaps you confuse a passion for good evidence with whatever you perceive about me?

      • @Exgen
        I recommend Edzards latest book highly.
        It is quite easy to read and comprehensible. Even for those with dyslexia and comprehension difficulties. It is very entertaining at times so you will enjoy it. If you don’t you should get professional help.
        While you’re on Amazon, pick up “Trick or treatment”. It is also very easy reading.

    • Clearly a statement by someone who has not read the book in question; I recommend it highly for its clarity of expression as well as its content. Maybe the sense of humour which is evident throughout the book is not to Exgen007’s taste, but I certainly found it amusing as well as thought provoking.

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