Would you like to see a much broader range of approaches such as nutrition, mindfulness, complementary therapies and connecting people to green spaces become part of mainstream healthcare?


Well, let me tell you about this exciting new venture anyway!

It is being promoted by Dr Dixon’s ‘College of Medicine’ and claims to be “the only accredited Integrative Medicine diploma currently available in the UK… [It] will provide you with an accredited qualification as an integrative medicine practitioner. The Diploma is certified by Crossfields Institute and supported by the College of Medicine and is the only one currently available in the UK. IM is a holistic, evidence-based approach which makes intelligent use of all available therapeutic choices to achieve optimal health and resilience for our patients. The model embraces conventional approaches as well as other modalities centred on lifestyle and mind-body techniques like mindfulness and nutrition.”

Dr Dixon? Yes, this Dr Michael Dixon.

College of Medicine? Yes, this College of Medicine.

Integrative medicine? Yes, this cunning plan to adopt quackery into real medicine which I have repeatedly written about, for instance here, here and here.

Crossfields Institute? Yes this Crossfields Institute which promotes the Steiner/’Waldorf quackery and has Simon Fielding as the chair of trustees.

Simon Fielding? Yes, the Simon Fielding who “devoted much of his professional life to securing the recognition of osteopathy as an independent primary contact healthcare profession and this culminated in the passing of the Osteopaths Act in 1993. He was appointed by ministers as the first chair of the General Osteopathic Council responsible for bringing the Osteopaths Act into force… He is currently vice-chair of the board of trustees of The College of Medicine… In addition Simon has… served as a long term trustee on the boards of The Prince of Wales’s Foundation for Integrated Health… and was the founder chair of the Council for Anthroposophical Health and Social Care.”

You must admit, this IS exciting!
Now you want to know what modules are within the Diploma? Here they are:

  • The Modern Context of IM: Philosophy, History and Changing Times in Medicine
  • IM Approaches and Management of Conditions (part 1)
  • Holistic Assessment: The Therapeutic Relationship, Motivational Interviewing & Clinical Decision Making in    Integrative Medicine
  • Critical Appraisal of Medicine and IM Research
  • Holistic assessment: Social prescribing, a Community Approach in Integrative Medicine
  • Managing a Dynamic IM Practice and Developing Leadership Skills
  • IM Approaches and Management of Conditions (part 2)
  • Independent Study on Innovation in Integrative Medicine

Sounds terrific, and it reminds me a lot of another course Michael Dixon tried to set up 13 years ago in Exeter. As it concerned me intimately, I wrote about this extraordinary experience in my memoir; here is a short excerpt:

…in July 2003… I saw an announcement published in the newsletter of the Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Integrated Health:

“The Peninsula Medical School aims to become the UK’s first medical school to include integrated medicine at postgraduate level. The school also plans to extend the current range and depth of programmes offered by including healthcare ethics and legislation. Professor John Tooke, dean of the Peninsula Medical School, said: ‘The inclusion of integrated medicine is a patient driven development. Increasingly the public is turning to the medical profession for information about complementary medicines. This programme will play an important role in developing critical understanding of a wide range of therapies’.”

When I stumbled on this announcement I was taken aback. Is Tooke envisaging a course for me to run? Has he forgotten to tell me about it? When I inquired, Tooke informed me that the medical school planned to offer a postgraduate “Pathway in Integrated Health” which had been initiated by Dr Michael Dixon, a general practitioner who had at that stage become one of the UK’s most outspoken proponents of spiritual healing and other dubious forms of alternative medicine, and for this reason was apparently very well regarded by Prince Charles.

A few days after I received this amazing news, Dr Dixon arrived at my office and explained with visible embarrassment that Prince Charles had expressed his desire to establish such a course in Exeter. His Royal Highness had already facilitated its funding which, in fact, came from Nelson’s, the manufacturer of homoeopathic remedies. The day-to-day running of the course was to be put into the hands of the ex-director of the Centre for Complementary Health Studies (CCHS), the very unit I had struggled – and even paid – to be separated from almost a decade ago because of its overtly anti-scientific agenda. The whole thing had been in the planning for several months. I was, it seemed, the last to know – but now that I had learnt about it, Dixon and Tooke urged me to contribute to this course by giving a few lectures.

I could no more comply with this request than fly. Apart from anything else, I was opposed in principle to the concept of “integration.” As I saw it, “integrating” quackery with genuine, science-based medicine was nothing less than a profound betrayal of the ethical basis of medical practice. By putting its imprimatur on this course, and by offering it under the auspices of a mainstream medical school, my institution would be encouraging the dangerous idea of equivalence – i.e., the notion that alternative and mainstream medicine were merely two parallel but equally valid and effective methods of treating illness.

To add insult to injury, the course was to be sponsored by a major manufacturer of homoeopathic remedies. In all conscience, this seemed to me to be the last straw. Study after study carried out by my unit had found homoeopathy to be not only conceptually absurd but also therapeutically worthless. If we did not take a stand on this issue, we might just as well all give up and go home…


Dixon’s Exeter course was not a brilliant success; I think it folded soon after it was started. Well, better luck up the road in Bristol, Michael – I am sure there must be a market for quackery somewhere!

11 Responses to The only accredited Integrative Medicine diploma currently available in the UK

  • We need to fully understand what the ‘College’ is up to.

    “Integrative medicine and health reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.” (The Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health). Advocates say that it “emphasizes wellness and healing of the entire person (bio-psycho-socio-spiritual dimensions) as primary goals, drawing on both conventional and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) approaches in the context of a supportive and effective physician-patient relationship”. (Wikipedia).

    Professor John McLachlan has stated that the reason for the creation of integrative medicine was as a rebranding exercise, and that the term is a replacement for the increasingly discredited one of “complementary and alternative medicine”. (McLachlan JC (2010). “Integrative medicine and the point of credulity”. BMJ (Feature). 341: c6979. doi:10.1136/bmj.c6979. PMID 21147748).

    ‘Alternative medicine’: “any of various systems of healing or treating disease (as chiropractic, homeopathy, or faith healing) not included in the traditional medical curricula of the United States and Britain” (Merriam-Webster).

    Quackery is “the promotion[1] of fraudulent or ignorant medical practices. A quack is a ‘fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill’ or ‘a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess; a charlatan or snake oil salesman’.”(Wikipedia).

    The intention of the ‘College of Medicine’ has been clearly stated.

    • From the pospectus: “We believe in… Being a Centre of Academic Excellence for IM
      education, research and evaluation”. That’s a bit like believing in being a Centre of Academic Excellence for Tarot Card Reading education, research and evaluation.

  • Absolute stupidity not to mention utter nonsense

  • The common GP is a quack, a pedlar of pharmaceutical interventions, a puppet and generally helpless victim in a mass beaurocracy of sustainable networks that precipitate the use of mass mining and agrochemical by product into the human organism.

    While you bicker in your negative, narrow minded, cretin like thinking you are missing the point.

    If any of you had any form of credible research background and truly understood the mechanisms of the human body from Nutrition or Herbsl Medicine you may actually have the ability to medically support people.

    Take Nutrition for example do you know which amino acids come from which foods? And which ones build neurotransmitters and hormones, do you heck…
    Do you know what effects Onega 3;6 and 9 have in the human body? What they do to the cardiovascular system? The HPA- axis? Do you heck…

    You don’t even know what HPA axis is do you….

    Do you know which pathways in the liver require which vital amines to bind toxins for hydrolysation? No again

    Do you know which coding RNA proteins are affected with glyphosate in the human ribosome? And the devastating effects it has on cell growth? And what that means in terms of degenerative disease? No again

    Do you know what and exactly how conjugation in the liver works? No again

    Do you understand the role of of ‘cross talk’ in the microbiome and how serotonin and dopamine are produced there or where these amines go in the body and how? No

    As a Nutritionist, Integrative Health and Health Psychology provider I do, I know all the answers to these questions, I know the lab tests to help define which elements the body needs and the exact dose required.

    How do you treat disease? do you know it’s cause?

    So stop criticising, get back to class, grow your understanding, and turn your jealous, fearful, back biting negativity into wisdom , Learning and support for a community who are getting it right.
    I doubt Dr. Dixon would come head in hand to any of you look for approval or forgiveness, he’s one of a few driving the right line of health inquiry, when you are doing things right you don’t need others approval. Your GMC is antiquated, their programme out of date and over sponsored by Pharmaceutical money. Individualised care is the only efficacious health provision and that requires Integrative Health practice

  • Linda,
    Do you know how to create smoke screens by throwing around technical terms? Definitely yes.
    Do your rhetorical questions prove efficacy of any “alternative” treatment? No.
    Do you know what evidence based medicine is? No.

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