This recent announcement by the Society of Homeopaths (SoH), the organisation of non-doctor homeopaths in the UK, seems worthy of a short comment. Here is the unabbreviated text in question:
Two new members have been appointed to the Society’s Public Affairs (PAC) and Professional Standards (PSC) committees for three-year terms of office.
Selina Hatherley RSHom is joining the PAC. She has been a member since 2004 and works in three multi-disciplinary practices in Oxfordshire and previously ran a voluntary clinic working with people with drug, alcohol and mental health issues for 12 years. She has also been involved in the acute trauma clinics following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
New to the PSC is Lynne Howard. She became a RSHom in 1996 and runs a practice in three locations in east London and a major London hospital. She specialises in pregnancy, birth and mother-and-baby issues.
“Following an open and comprehensive appointment process, we are delighted to welcome Selina and Lynne ‘on-board’ as brand-new committee members who will bring new ideas, experiences and knowledge to the society,” said Chief Executive Mark Taylor.
END OF QUOTE
It seems to me that the SoH might be breaching its very own Code of Ethics with these appointments.
1) Lynne Howard BA, LCH, MCH, RSHom tells us on her website that she has been practising homeopathy for 25 years, she has run many children’s clinics and is a registered CEASE practitioner with a special interest in fertility and children’s health.
CEASE therapy has been discussed before on this blog. It is highly unethical and the SoH have been warned about it before. They even pretended to take the warning seriously.
2) Selina Hatherley has a website where she tells us this: In 2011 I trained as a Vega practitioner – enabling me to use the Vega machine to test for food sensitivity and allergens. I use homeopathic remedies to support the findings and to help restore good health… I am a registered member of the Society of Homeopaths – the largest organisation registering professional homeopaths in Europe, I abide by their Code of Ethics and Practice and am fully insured.
Vega, or electrodermal testing for allergies has been evaluated by the late George Lewith (by Jove not a man who was biased against such things) and found to be bogus. Here are the conclusions of his study published in the BMJ: “Electrodermal testing cannot be used to diagnose environmental allergies.” That’s pretty clear, I think. As the BMJ is not exactly an obscure journal, the result should be known to everyone with an interest in Vega-testing. And, of course, disregarding such evidence is unethical.
But perhaps, in homeopathy, ethics can be diluted like homeopathic remedies?
Perhaps the SoH’s Code of Ethics even allows such behaviour?
Have a look yourself; here are the 16 core principles of the SoH’s CODE OF ETHICS:
1.1 Put the individual needs of the patient first.
1.2 Respect the privacy and dignity of patients.
1.3 Treat everyone fairly, respectfully, sensitively and appropriately without discrimination.
1.4 Respect the views of others and, when stating their own views, avoid the disparagement of others either professionally or personally.
1.5 Work to foster and maintain the trust of individual patients and the public.
1.6 Listen actively and respect the individual patient’s views and their right to personal choice.
1.7 Encourage patients to take responsibility for their own health, through discussion and provision of information.
1.8 Comprehensively record any history the patient may give and the advice and treatment the registered or student clinical member has provided.
1.9 Provide comprehensive clear and balanced information to allow patients to make informed choices.
1.10 Respect and protect the patients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality.
1.11 Maintain and develop professional knowledge and skills.
1.12 Practise only within the boundaries of their own competence.
1.13 Respond promptly and constructively to concerns, criticisms and complaints.
1.14 Respect the skills of other healthcare professionals and where possible work in cooperation with them.
1.15 Comply with the current statutory legislation in relation to their practice as a homeopath of the country, state or territory where they are practising.
1.16 Practise in accordance with the Core Criteria for Homeopathic Practice and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare National Occupational Standards for Homeopathy.
I let you decide whether or not the code was broken by the new appointments and, if so, on how many accounts.