The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health

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The Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH) was a controversial charity run by Charles, Prince of Wales, founded in 1993. The Foundation promoted complementary and alternative medicine, preferring to use the term "integrated health", and lobbied for its inclusion in the National Health Service. The charity closed in 2010 after allegations of fraud and money laundering led to the arrest of a former official.

Contents

History

Prince Charles established the charity in 1993 to explore "how safe, proven complementary therapies can work in conjunction with mainstream medicine". [1]

Dr Michael Dixon was appointed the Foundation's medical director. From 2005 to 2007, FIH received a grant from the Department of Health to help organise the self-regulation of complementary therapies. There had been concern that with a large proportion of the public turning to complementary approaches, there were few safeguards in place to ensure that non-statutorily regulated therapists were safe, trained and would act in an appropriate way. FIH worked to bring together the representative bodies of many complementary professions to talk and agree standards. [2] The result was the formation of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) which had hoped to register 10,000 practitioners of complementary medicine by the end of 2009 but which by September 2009 had succeeded in enrolling less than a tenth of that number due to lack of interest on the part of some of their professional associations. The Department of Health is currently continuing to fund the CNHC but future funding will be dependent on substantial progress being made towards the target (which has now been reduced to 2,000). Alternative medicine campaigners argued that the move toward regulation conferred undue respectability on unproven and possibly unsafe complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) approaches.

FIH also worked with medical schools to increase the understanding of complementary approaches amongst new doctors and ran an annual awards ceremony for integrated health schemes both within the medical world and in the community.

The papers of the Foundation for Integrated Health are held at the Wellcome Library, Archives and Manuscripts, and are available for consultation by appointment. Further details about the collection can be found on the Wellcome online catalogue. [3]

Controversy

The Prince of Wales has demonstrated an interest in alternative medicine, the promotion of which has occasionally resulted in controversy. [4] In 2004, the Foundation divided the scientific and medical community over its campaign encouraging general practitioners to offer herbal and other alternative treatments to National Health Service patients, [5] [6] and in May 2006, The Prince made a speech to an audience of health ministers from various countries at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, urging them to develop a plan for integrating conventional and alternative medicine. [7]

In April 2008, The Times published a letter from Professor Edzard Ernst that asked the Prince's Foundation to recall two guides promoting "alternative medicine", saying: "the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous." A speaker for the foundation countered the criticism by stating: "We entirely reject the accusation that our online publication Complementary Healthcare: A Guide contains any misleading or inaccurate claims about the benefits of complementary therapies. On the contrary, it treats people as adults and takes a responsible approach by encouraging people to look at reliable sources of information... so that they can make informed decisions. The foundation does not promote complementary therapies." [8] Ernst has recently published a book with science writer Simon Singh condemning alternative medicine called Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial . The book is ironically dedicated to "HRH the Prince of Wales" and the last chapter is very critical of his advocacy of "complementary" and "alternative" treatments. [9]

The Prince's Duchy Originals have produced a variety of CAM products including a “Detox Tincture” that Ernst has denounced as "financially exploiting the vulnerable" and "outright quackery". [10] In May 2009, the Advertising Standards Authority criticised an email that Duchy Originals had sent out to advertise its Echina-Relief, Hyperi-Lift and Detox Tinctures products saying it was misleading. [11]

In Ernst's book More Good Than Harm? The Moral Maze of Complementary and Alternative Medicine he and ethicist Kevin Smith call Charles "foolish and immoral" and "conclude that it is not possible to practice alternative medicine ethically". Ernst further claims that the private secretary of the Prince contacted the vice chancellor of Exeter University to investigate Ernst's complaints against the "Smallwood Report" which the Prince had commissioned in 2005. While Ernst was "found not to be guilty of any wrong-doing, all local support at Exeter stopped, which eventually led to my early retirement." [12]

Funding

Between 2005 and 2007 the charity's annual turnover was about £1.2 million. [13] In 2007 it received significant funding from The Prince's Charities Foundation, and a £300,000 grant from the Department of Health for the regulation of complementary medicine. [14]

Lobbying allegations

The Prince personally wrote at least seven letters [15] to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) shortly before they relaxed the rules governing labelling of herbal products such as the ones sold by his duchy, a move that has been widely condemned by scientists and medical bodies. [16]

On 31 October 2009 it was reported that Prince Charles had personally lobbied Health Secretary Andy Burnham regarding greater provision of alternative treatments on the NHS. [10]

Charity Commission complaint

In March 2010, the political organisation Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, registered a complaint with the Charity Commission for England and Wales over a possible breach of charity regulations, suggesting that the foundation's staff had pursued a public vendetta against Ernst. [17]

Fraud allegations and closure

In 2010, following accounting irregularities noted by the foundation's auditor, it was reported that the Metropolitan Police Economic and Specialist Crime Command had begun an inquiry into alleged fraud. [18] Within weeks, two former officials at the Prince's Foundation were arrested for fraud believed to total £300,000. [1] [19] Four days later, on 30 April 2010, the foundation announced [20] that it would close. The foundation stated that its closure was the result of the fraud allegations. [21]

The charity's finance director, accountant George Gray, was convicted of theft totalling £253,000 and sentenced to three years in prison. [22] [23]

Rebranding as "The College of Medicine"

Following the disbanding of the Prince's Foundation, many of the individuals and organisations involved launched a new organisation in late 2010 called The College of Medicine, with which the Prince of Wales was not overtly involved. Several commentators writing in The Guardian and The British Medical Journal, have expressed the opinion that the new organisation is simply a re-branding of the Prince's Foundation, [22] [24] [25] [26] [27] describing it as "Hamlet without the Prince". [28]

In support of this connection with Prince Charles, alternative medicine critic and pharmacologist David Colquhoun has argued that the College (originally called "The College of Integrated Health") is extremely well-funded [29] and seemed from the beginning to be very confident of the Prince's support; explicitly describing its mission as "to take forward the vision of HRH the Prince of Wales". [30]

These claims have been contested by the College. [31]

Related Research Articles

Alternative medicine describes any practice that aims to achieve the healing effects of medicine, but which lacks biological plausibility and is untested, untestable or proven ineffective. Complementary medicine (CM), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrated medicine or integrative medicine (IM), and holistic medicine are among many rebrandings of the same phenomenon. Alternative therapies share in common that they reside outside medical science, and rely on pseudoscience. Traditional practices become "alternative" when used outside their original settings without proper scientific explanation and evidence. Frequently used derogatory terms for the alternative are new-age or pseudo, with little distinction from quackery.

Charles, Prince of Wales member of British royal family

Charles, Prince of Wales, is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. He has been Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay since 1952, and he is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958.

Craniosacral therapy

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a form of bodywork or alternative therapy that uses gentle touch to palpate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. It is based on fundamental misconceptions about the physiology of the human skull and is promoted as a cure-all for a variety of health conditions.

Quackwatch is a United States–based website, self-described as a "network of people" founded by Stephen Barrett, which aims to "combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct" and to focus on "quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere". Since 1996 it has operated the alternative medicine watchdog website quackwatch.org, which advises the public on unproven or ineffective alternative medicine remedies. The site contains articles and other information criticizing many forms of alternative medicine.

Anthroposophic medicine

Anthroposophic medicine is a form of alternative medicine. Devised in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) in conjunction with Ita Wegman (1876–1943), anthroposophical medicine is based on occult notions and draws on Steiner's spiritual philosophy, which he called anthroposophy. Practitioners employ a variety of treatment techniques based upon anthroposophic precepts, including massage, exercise, counselling, and substances.

Edzard Ernst academic physician and researcher specializing in the study of complementary and alternative medicine

Edzard Ernst is a retired academic physician and researcher specializing in the study of complementary and alternative medicine. He was formerly Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, the first such academic position in the world.

Energy medicine, energy therapy, energy healing, vibrational medicine, psychic healing, spiritual medicine or spiritual healing are branches of alternative medicine based on a pseudo-scientific belief that healers can channel healing energy into a patient and effect positive results. This idea itself contains several methods: hands-on, hands-off, and distant where the patient and healer are in different locations.

Ian Kennedy (legal scholar) British lawyer

Sir Ian McColl Kennedy, QC is a British academic lawyer who has specialised in the law and ethics of health. He was appointed to chair the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in 2009.

Sir Graeme Robertson Dawson Catto FRSE, Hon FRCSE, FRCP(Lon, Edin & Glasg), FRCGP, FFPM, FMedSci FKC is a Scottish doctor who was President, later Chair, of the General Medical Council until April 2009. He is also currently Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Universities of London and Aberdeen and was an honorary consultant nephrologist at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Michael Baum, Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting Professor of Medical Humanities in University College London (UCL), is a British surgical oncologist who specialises in breast cancer treatment. He is also known for his contributions to the evaluation and support of patient quality of life. He has been Professor of Surgery in King's College London, the Royal Marsden Hospital and UCL. He is a notable critic of alternative medicine.

The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is a regulatory body in the United Kingdom which provides a voluntary register of complementary, rather than alternative medicine, therapists. The key purpose of CNHC is to act in the public interest and enable proper public accountability of the complementary therapists that it registers.

Karol Sikora is a British physician specialising in oncology. He is currently Medical Director of Rutherford Health plc, Director of Medical Oncology at the Bahamas Cancer Centre, a partner in and dean of the University of Buckingham's medical school.

<i>Trick or Treatment?</i> book by Simon Singh

Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial is a 2008 book about alternative medicine by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst.

Michael Dixon (doctor) British general practitioner

Michael Dixon LVO, OBE, MA, FRCGP was chair of the NHS Alliance from 1998 to 2015 and is a past President of the NHS Clinical Commissioners. He also chairs the College of Medicine. He is a Visiting Professor at University College London and the University of Westminster and National Clinical Champion for Social Prescribing.

The College of Medicine (CoM) is a United Kingdom based organisation founded in 2010 for healthcare professionals and those interested in promoting alternative medicine within the National Health Service. The College originated from the collapse of Charles, Prince of Wales' controversial Foundation for Integrated Health, which closed after allegations of money-laundering and fraud.

George Lewith was a professor at the University of Southampton researching alternative medicine and a practitioner of complementary medicine. He was a prominent and sometimes controversial advocate of complementary medicine in the UK.

The Sunflower Jam is a British charity registered in England and Wales (1138401) since 2010, founded by Jacky Paice, wife of Deep Purple drummer, Ian Paice. Other high-profile supporters are the actor Jeremy Irons, ex-Jamiroquai bassist Nick Fyffe, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, Queen guitarist Brian May, and Charles, Prince of Wales.

Michael H. Cohen American lawyer

Michael H. Cohen is an American attorney. He is the founder of the Cohen Healthcare Law Group, and a former professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. Cohen has authored books on health-care law and policy.

Smallwood Report

The Smallwood Report, officially entitled The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the NHS: An Investigation into the Potential Contribution of Mainstream Alternative Therapies to Healthcare in the UK, was a 2005 report promoting the use of so-called "alternative medicine" in Britain's taxpayer funded National Health Service, as a cost-effective and efficate alternative to evidence-based medicine. The report was written by economist Christopher Smallwood, commissioned by Charles, Prince of Wales, and funded by disgraced Tory politician Dame Shirley Porter. The report recommended that a number of treatments be made available on the NHS, including acupuncture, homoeopathy, manipulation therapies and herbal remedies. Graeme Catto wrote the introduction. Smallwood is an economist with no background in healthcare.

Alternative medicine describes any practice which aims to achieve the healing effects of medicine, but which lacks biological plausibility and is untested or untestable. Complementary medicine (CM), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrated medicine or integrative medicine (IM), and holistic medicine are among many rebrandings of the same phenomenon.

References

  1. 1 2 Robert Booth (26 April 2010). "Prince Charles's aide at homeopathy charity arrested on suspicion of fraud". London: guardian.co.uk.
  2. Regulating complementary therapies - Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health
  3. "Wellcome Library Western Manuscripts and Archives catalogue". Archives.wellcomelibrary.org. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  4. Barnaby J. Feder, Special To The New York Times (9 January 1985). "More Britons Trying Holistic Medicine — New York Times". Query.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  5. Carr-Brown, Jonathon (14 August 2005). "Prince Charles' alternative GP campaign stirs anger". The Times. London. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  6. Revill, Jo (2004-06-27). "Now Charles backs coffee cure for cancer". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
  7. Cowell, Alan (2006-05-24). "Lying in wait for Prince Charles". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  8. Henderson, Mark (17 April 2008). "Prince of Wales's guide to alternative medicine 'inaccurate'". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  9. Singh, S. & Ernst, E. (2008). Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial. Corgi.
  10. 1 2 Tim Walker (31 Oct 2009). "Prince Charles lobbies Andy Burnham on complementary medicine for NHS". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  11. "Duchy Originals Pork Pies". The Quackometer Blog. 11 March 2009.
  12. Ernst, Edzard (2018). "Why Did We Call Prince Charles Foolish and Immoral?". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 42 (3): 8–9.
  13. Charity Commission. The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, registered charity no. 1026800.
  14. The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health - 2007 accounts (PDF), Charity Commission, retrieved 2010-04-30
  15. "HRH "meddling in politics"". DC's Improbable Science. March 12, 2007.
  16. Nigel Hawkes & Mark Henderson (September 1, 2006). "Doctors attack natural remedy claims". The Times. London.
  17. Booth, Robert (19 March 2010). "Prince Charles health charity accused of vendetta against critic". London: The Guardian.
  18. Delgado, Martin; Young, Andrew (4 April 2010). "Police probe into missing £300k at Prince Charles' charity after bosses fail to file accounts". Daily Mail. London.
  19. "Prince Charles charity to close amid fraud inquiry". BBC News. 30 April 2010.
  20. Robert Booth (30 April 2010). "Prince of Wales's health charity wound up in wake of fraud investigation". The Guardian.
  21. Laura Donnelly (15 May 2010). "Homeopathy is witchcraft, say doctors". London: The Telegraph.
  22. 1 2 Ian Sample (August 2, 2010). "College of Medicine born from ashes of Prince Charles's holistic health charity". London: The Guardian.
  23. Peter Dominiczak (20 August 2010). "Three years jail for accountant at Charles charity who stole £253,000". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  24. Jane Cassidy (15 June 2011). "Lobby Watch: The College of Medicine". British Medical Journal. 343: d3712. doi:10.1136/bmj.d3712. PMID   21677014.
  25. David Colquhoun (12 July 2011). "The College of Medicine is Prince's Foundation reincarnated". British Medical Journal. 343: d4368. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4368. PMID   21750061.
  26. James May (12 July 2011). "College of Medicine: What is integrative health?". British Medical Journal. 343: d4372. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4372. PMID   21750063.
  27. Edzard Ernst (12 July 2011). "College of Medicine or College of Quackery?". British Medical Journal. 343: d4370. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4370. PMID   21750062.
  28. Nigel Hawkes (2010). "Prince's foundation metamorphoses into new College of Medicine". 341. British Medical Journal. p. 6126. doi:10.1136/bmj.c6126.
  29. David Colquhoun (July 25, 2010). "Buckinghamgate: the new "College of Medicine" arising from the ashes of the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health". DC's Improbable Science.
  30. David Colquhoun (29 October 2010). "Don't be deceived. The new "College of Medicine" is a fraud and delusion".
  31. Lewith, G. T.; Catto, G; Dixon, M; Glover, C; Halligan, A; Kennedy, I; Manning, C; Peters, D (12 July 2011). "College of Medicine replies to its critics". British Medical Journal. 343: d4364. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4364. PMID   21750060.