HMC:21 the Islington Tribune and a Daft Letter of Support

Was catching up on twitter and came across a tweet from HMC:21 cheerleading a letter in a local newspaper defending one of its trustees whose website is being investigated by the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA).

HMC:21 seem keen to publicise the ‘heated debate defending homeopathy’ and the letter is, I assume, supposed to represent a spontaneous defence of Jennifer Hautman from her grateful patients:-

Letters: Homeopathy has always had NHS role

Published: 15 November, 2013

As patients of a clinic in Islington where we see our homeopath, Jennifer Hautman, RSHom, we are surprised to learn that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is pursuing a single complaint regarding 24 words on the clinic website that state homeopathy “is sanctioned by the UK government and has been an integral part of the National Health Service (NHS) since 1948”. This is a statement of fact. Homeopathy has been part of the NHS since it was founded in 1948. Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS, promised that “… under the National Health Service Act homeopathic institutions will be enabled to provide their own form of treatment and the continuity of the characteristics of those institutions will be maintained…” Every government in power since 1948 has continued to fund homeopathy on the NHS to some extent. So it is merely self evident that the government sanctions homeopathy as a treatment of choice if a patient wants it. ASA Ltd, a private organisation, should not be abusing its powers to censor self-employed individuals by questioning factual information that does no harm to anyone. Whatever people think or say about homeopathy, it’s up to us as patients to make up our own minds. We use alternative medicine because it’s safe and effective. The ASA, however, has a lobby group called the Nightingale Collaboration (NC) that it considers to be a “key stakeholder” informing its decisions, and with whom it has, in its own words, a “continued dialogue at a high level”. But why is the NC, an organisation specifically set up to target complementary health therapists, prioritised by the ASA, over and above patients and users of complementary therapists? Why have they been given priority over and above patient choice and safety?

ABI HARDY, ACHILLES NIKOLAOU, ANNIKA MARTIN, GABRIELLA CEVALLOS, J BURNS, MANDI KALAIR, MARIA MOUSKOU, MAXINE RHODES, TIM HARWOOD, JOAN CELESTIN, NICOLE SCHUBERT, YAMINA DJEHICHE and MELANIE SPARKS.

Patients of Jennifer Hautman RSHom Registered homeopath

In the context of the campaign to discredit the ASA which is being waged by HMC:21, The Alliance for Natural Health amongst others, this letter is a rather amusing own goal.

Firstly, having looked at Jennifer Hautmans website I find it difficult to believe that someone was sufficiently motivated to complain only about a few words relating to Homeopathy’s historical and current context within the NHS. I can however believe that someone might look at the pages of conditions which Jennifer claims to be able to treat and – in the light of the adjudication against her trade body the Society of Homeopaths – question that wording as part of a much larger and justified complaint about her website.

Secondly perhaps more importantly, the ASA have not yet ruled on the issue they highlighted which makes these complaints rather premature!

If it turns out that these patients have ‘spontaneously’ focused on some trivial dispute over wording about the NHS when much more serious issued were being investigated they are going to look rather daft.  And, if it turns out that the ASA agree with Jennifer Hautman that homeopathy

“is sanctioned by the UK government and has been an integral part of the National Health Service (NHS) since 1948”

it will drive a bus through HMC:21s pre-meditated attempt to show that the ASA are biased against Homeopathy and cannot rule objectively on claims on Homeopaths websites.

Heads I win, tails you lose.
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2 thoughts on “HMC:21 the Islington Tribune and a Daft Letter of Support

  1. What Hautman currently says on her website is different to what is in the letter. Her website currently says:

    It is over 200 years old, was introduced to the U.K. by Dr Quin in 1828, is sanctioned by the UK Government and the Royal Family, and has been an integral part of the National Health Service (NHS) since it was founded in 1948.

    My emphasis

    On 5 September 2012, it didn’t have the text about the Royal Family, so I wonder what it said at the time of the complaint and I wonder whether it is misleading – or perhaps even illegal – to state or imply Royal sanction unless it does?

    I see she also doesn’t understand the Swiss homeopathy report.

    1. Well spotted – I hadn’t noticed the additional of ‘Royal’ Sanction on her website (I blame the Tawny port I had rather too much of).

      It will indeed be interesting to see the full context and detail of this complaint and particularly whether the patient claims about the complaint – which can only have come from Jennifer – are accurate.

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