The Quackometer has reported the recent departure of the Chief Executive, Paula Ross, from the Society of Homeopaths (SoH), sharing with us some of the more egregious examples of homeopathic conduct during her tenure. These include their inept strategy for dealing with homeopaths who claim their pills can treat or cure malaria as well as a misguided attempt to sue the Quackometer for reporting one of their members claims about malaria. Curiously, although having removed almost every reference to Ross on their website, the SoH have not yet issued a public statement on her departure, which comes just before this weekends AGM. However, they did release the following statement to their members a few weeks ago:
Following a Board meeting on Friday 9th April, The Society of Homeopaths and its Chief Executive, Paula Ross, have agreed to part company amicably. The Board wishes to extend its thanks to Paula for all the hard work she has put into the Society over the last 7 years, and notes in particular that the Society is in a much healthier financial position than when she arrived.
With the AGM coming up this Saturday, there will be 4 new directors elected. The Board looks forward to the beginning of a new era for The Society, which will look to build on the solid foundations that Paula has laid in so many areas of its work.
The Society also intends to support and build on its long traditions of high standards in homeopathic education, as well as continuing to support the transition to independent accreditation for Course Providers.
The Board is looking forward to working in close harmony with other registering bodies, and all homeopaths and organisations who would wish to see the benefits of homeopathic treatment be made clearer to the public.
The Board wishes to take time to reflect on the best way forward following Paula’s departure, and will be exploring various options as a matter of high priority. Interim arrangements are already in place to ensure the smooth running
of the Society on a day-to-day basis, and all the usual membership services remain fully in place.
The Board also wishes to emphasise at this time its full support for all the staff who are carrying on their splendid work in the smooth running and operations of all aspects of the Society’s work.
Finally the Board wishes to reassure members that it is confident of continuing to deliver great value for money, and is looking to make The Society one in which its members can continue to feel proud as it prepares to deliver a clearer
and stronger homeopathic message to the public. May we all feel we can unite behind that vision.
Diane Goodwin RSHom., PCH
While no reason for the departure of Ross is given, this statement is notably conciliatory on an issue that the SoH has taken a hardline on previously. In the past the SoH has been keen to spike the regulatory guns of the other registering bodies, particular the ARH, now they call for harmony. This position is also remarkably different from that expressed in their Annual Report of a few weeks ago, where there is much boasting of their increased market share of registered homeoapths in 2009 and this firm commitment for 2010:
Aim to increase our current market share of 65% of members registered with the 3 largest homeopathic organisations
This remarkable turnaround, correlated with the departure of Paula Ross, could be a sign that the homeopaths have finally realised that the divide and conquer tactics of Paula Ross, not a homeopath but a business woman, offer only short term gains at the expense of the profession as a whole. Perhaps the SoH believe that no one can do better than the homeopaths themselves when it comes to saving the profession?
Sadly this view would be misguided. The original article by The Quackometer that the SoH found so objectionable, ‘The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing‘, contained this criticism of a homeopathic clinic in Kenya:
The Abha Light Foundation is a registered NGO in Kenya. It takes mobile homeopathy clinics through the slums of Nairobi and surrounding villages. Its stated aim is to,
introduce Homeopathy and natural medicines as a method of managing HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in Kenya.
I must admit, I had to pause for breath after reading that. The clinic sells its own homeopathic remedies for ‘treating’ various lethal diseases. Its MalariaX potion,
is a homeopathic preparation for prevention of malaria and treatment of malaria. Suitable for children. For prevention. Only 1 pill each week before entering, during and after leaving malaria risk areas. For treatment. Take 1 pill every 1-3 hours during a malaria attack.
This is nothing short of being totally outrageous. It is a murderous delusion. David Colquhoun has been writing about this wicked practice recently and it is well worth following his blog on the issue.
Let’s remind ourselves what one of the most senior and respected homeopaths in the UK, Dr Peter Fisher of the London Homeopathic Hospital, has to say on this matter.
there is absolutely no reason to think that homeopathy works to prevent malaria and you won’t find that in any textbook or journal of homeopathy so people will get malaria, people may even die of malaria if they follow this advice.
Malaria is a huge killer in Kenya. It is the biggest killer of children under five. The problem is so huge that the reintroduction of DDT is considered as a proven way of reducing deaths. Magic sugar pills and water drops will do nothing. Many of the poorest in Kenya cannot afford real anti-malaria medicine, but offering them nonsense as a substitute will not help anyone.
The SoH have consistently supported and funded the use of homeopathy in Africa for years but under the PR savvy leadership of Ross they did not draw much attention to this following the Quackometer’s article. This may now change. Didi Ruchira, the director of Abha Light, has recently made the following claims:
in my own correspondence with my UK and USA homeopath colleagues, I’m advised to tread carefully and silently about malaria. The skeptics have them on the run in UK and we had better not shout too much of our successes. A bit odd, but that is the way to fight a battle sometimes.
Please, dear reader, just because UK homeopaths have decided it’s presently strategic to keep silent on Malaria, HIV and TB, doesn’t mean that we in Africa have stopped work in these fields. We are just working quietly, that’s all. This battle will be won ultimately by homeopathy, because drug-based medicine is running out of steam. Those of us working tirelessly on the ground for the benefit of humanity need your support, both morally and financially. I will suggest to you to select your favorite pioneering project in any country in Africa, South America or Asia and support it wholeheartedly.
Without the leadership of Ross it is likely that the membership of the SoH, believing as they do that conventional medicine is a big pharma conspiracy and that homeopathy cures everything, will give more prominence to views such as these. Views that kill. It is hard to see how this will be helpful to the reputation of homeopathy in the UK.
Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith