MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

As I am currently not in the UK, I (almost) missed the news about my ex-friend Michael Dixon (can you forgive me please, Michael?). I am going to report it here as published in the Independent without any comments of my own (which would inevitably have an after-taste of sour grapes):

The King has personally honoured his top medical team amid his treatment for cancer. Dr Michael Dixon, head of the Royal Medical Household, and Charles’s GP Dr Fiona Butler – otherwise known as the Apothecary to the King – have been recognised by Charles for their personal service to the monarch and the royal family…

Dr Dixon has been made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) and Dr Butler is now a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO), with the accolades announced on the King’s official birthday. Awards of the Royal Victorian Order are in the King’s gift and are bestowed independently of Downing Street to people who have served the monarch or the royal family in a personal way. Dr Dixon and the King have known one another for decades, and he is responsible for overseeing the eminent members of the medical profession entrusted to care for the royal family.

His appointment as head of the Royal Medical Household following Charles’s accession drew criticism due to his outspoken support for alternative therapies, such as faith healing and herbalism. In 2023, Buckingham Palace set out the doctor’s beliefs to The Sunday Times, saying: “Dr Dixon does not believe homeopathy can cure cancer. His position is that complementary therapies can sit alongside conventional treatments, provided they are safe, appropriate and evidence-based.”

As the Prince of Wales, Charles was a passionate campaigner for integrated health, raising the profile of combining evidence-based, conventional medicine with an holistic approach to healthcare. Dr Dixon’s previous roles include a practising GP, a fellow of the Royal College of GPs, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, former chairman of NHS Alliance and the chairman of the College of Medicine…

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In case you are not familiar with the relevant history and wonder about the “ex-friendship”, there are numerous posts on this blog about Dixon that might explain. Alternatively, you could read my memoir, A Scientist in Wonderland.

4 Responses to My ex-friend Dr Michael Dixon has been made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO)

  • At least Dr Dixon has not (yet) got a much coveted ‘K’.
    I am sure MD massages HRH’s ego, calms his nerves, assures him that placebos can have at least a temporary benefit and his ministrations avoid HRH having to tell us (as his son’s have been felt able to) that he need counselling.

    Quite why other reputable doctors associate with MD I cannot possibly imagine.
    The puff piece does not mention that he was unsuccessful when he stood for election to the RCP Presidency.
    And quite why MD has not learnt from the research he was involved with when he was at Exeter is equally inexplicable in a doctor with insight.
    I know at least one whose eyes were opened and who has moved forward!

    Best of luck next Honours round Mike!
    I wonder what the ‘remedy’ is to overcome any disapointment.
    Wind 30C perhaps.

  • It ain’t HRH any longer – it’s HM!

    I noticed the Honour and wondered when comment would appear here. The Independent article says “His position is that complementary therapies can sit alongside conventional treatments, provided they are safe, appropriate and evidence-based”. On the latter two grounds, that rules out homeopathy then……

    • yes, it certainly does.
      I know DM does not believe in homeopathy at all; he changed his tune (probably) to please Charles.
      As I have pointed out many times the mantra of all those who promote integrative/integrated medicine (IM) is nonsense:
      employing therapies that “are safe, appropriate and evidence-based” is not IM but it is EBM.
      IM is merely a trick to smuggle nonsense (such as homeopathy) into routine care via the back door.

  • Thanks David.
    My mistake has blown my chances of a K!

    Look, Dr Hahnemann was a good doctor – better than many of his time.
    He did not use the bleedings, emetics and purgings as many (most?) of his colleagues did – and many patients (most who attended?) probably did ‘feel better’.
    But Hahnemann failed to move on, to do proper research (he even invented ‘provings’ to get round the inconvenient fact that he used no controls.)
    But who did back then?
    But that was ‘back then’.
    Homeopaths (including advocates such as MD and HM) have failed to move on.
    Sigh.

    My critique of HM is not that he uses homeopathy (that is his private business), but that he promotes it to the public by giving a Royal Warrant to purveyors of sugar water and by failing to be as scientifically critical as befits a Fellow of the Royal Society (founder, Charles II).

    Of course, novel, ancient, wierd, wonderful and ‘miraculous’ ides can be incorporated into regular medicine (and should be used by the NHS), but only when and if there is reasonable, plausible, evidence of genuine benefit (and safety).
    And for the group of therapies we discuss here (SCAMs, Condimentary Medicine, etc) – that evidence is just not available.
    Which make those who persist in promoting, using and advocating such ‘remedies’/therapies/procedures, quacks, charlatans and fraudsters of varying hues.
    Simple.

    We all wish HM well, but he is placing reliance on EBM.
    His psyche may benefit from placebos, but he really should stop kidding his subjects about the true nature of the non-EBM ‘treatments’ and ‘medicine’ that he advocates.
    He should lay off ideas of ‘Integrative medicine’ and insist on the best EBM avaiable – which is often poor and not (yet) good enough, but EBM will improve – if we all, HM Charles III FRS included, insist on that principle.
    And if he uses the powers of being sovereign more insightfully and wisely.

    “Sorry Charles, but you’re wrong” – as Prof. Michael Baum once so sagaciously advised.

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