The random thoughts of a sceptical activist

NHS Tayside want to employ a new doctor

Very laudable indeed, particularly in these economically tough times — we all need to tighten our belts (so we’re told). But there are sick people out there needing healed.

But this isn’t just any doctor. They want a specialty doctor. A specialty doctor in homeopathy, no less.

They describe the job thus (cached):

NHS Tayside Specialty Doctor in Homeopathic Medicine 2 Sessions per week

Due to the retirement of both clinicians, a Specialty doctor is required to work in the NHS Homeopathy Clinic in Dundee. The service currently has 5 four hour sessions divided between two clinicians and the plan is that the service will now consist of a Specialty Doctor and a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Patients are referred from GPs and Hospital Consultants from Tayside and Fife.

Interested applicants should have Membership of the Faculty of Homeopathy or be an Associate Member who is studying for the Membership and have experience of working in an NHS Homeopathy service or have used homeopathy regularly in General Practice.

In addition to carrying out Outpatient sessions, you will be required to conduct regular audit of the service and fulfil the Faculty of Homeopathy requirements for CPD. The job may involve teaching medical students during clinical sessions and occasionally supervising student projects related to homeopathy.

You will also be expected to take an active part in the Tayside Postgraduate Homeopathy Group which meets once a month in the clinic building. In accordance with recent Home Office guidelines, doctors who require a certificate of sponsorship will only be appointed to posts which cannot be filled by suitably qualified UK/EEA applicants or doctors who do not require a certificate of sponsorship.

To obtain an application pack please visit adplus at www.bmjcareers.com or write to Imogen Scott, Workforce Services Team Leader, Workforce Directorate, Level 9, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY, enclosing an A4 self-addressed envelope. Please quote reference number IS/10/10

The closing date for applications is 6 September 2010.

NHS Tayside is an Equal Opportunities Employer and Positive about disabled people.

And what does such a prestigious position command in the way of a salary?

£36,807 to £68,638

Yep. That’s right. Up to a tad short of £70,000 for a magic bean dispenser.

This made the Daily Express, who helpfully pointed out that NHS Tayside were also cutting 500 jobs:

NHS ‘ALTERNATIVE THERAPY’ BLAST

NHS Tayside – cutting 500 jobs in the next year in a £30million economy drive – has advertised for a “specialty doctor in homeopathy,” who is required to hold only two sessions a week.

The board insists the £68,000-a-year homeopathic specialist, based in Dundee, will bring “real benefits” to people who are recovering from illnesses such as cancer.

More about what the post entails can be found here, but includes the following gems:

There are 5 clinical sessions which will be divided between a Specialty doctor and Clinical Nurse Practitioner.

During each session, one New and 6 -7 Return patients will be seen and homeopathic treatment prescribed.

Clinical Governance: The Clinical Governance team have conducted Patient Satisfaction Surveys of the Homeopathy Service in the past which indicated that the service is highly valued by patients. These will probably need to be carried out again from time to time.

Clinical Audit: Audit data has been collected after every clinic appointment regarding outcomes of treatment with homeopathy. Clinical Governance analysed data in March 2008 for patients who first attended in 2005 and this showed that 77% of patients had improved with 53% showing marked improvement. This was consistent with the previous year’s findings. The successful applicant will develop their own audit data.

Well, if patients like it and it offers ‘choice’, it must be OK.

Applicants

Competition for the job is hotting up, and I can reveal that there are already several applicants, all perfectly qualified to dispense sugar pills. Being the considerate people they are, they have all placed their applications online:

In which I apply for a job as a homeopath…

I miss Ofquack so I’m applying for job as a homeopath

My application for a job as a Homeopath

Application for Specialty Doctor in Homeopathy

I applied to be a homeopath

Job Application for Speciality Doctor in Homoeopathy

My Contribution to the Dundee Comedy Festival

Doctor in Homeopathy? Of course I could do that.

Vet CAM Commonsense: NHS Tayside wants a homeopathic doctor

In which I also apply for a job as a homeopath

Job application

I will add others to the list as I find them — please let me know if you come across any.

The closing date is 6 September, so we won’t have too long to wait to find out which of these worthy applicants gets the post.

Update:

One enterprising applicant has taken homeopathic principles fully on board. (But has now written a more ‘conventional’ application: My application for a job in homoeopathy.)

And there’s a new entry into the charts.

Homeopath application continues

Dr Simon Singh has also applied and has received an information pack in the post — I’ll post more information when I get it.

I’m a fully-qualified homeopath – really!

One by Jet Black

An update on “Dr.” Kevin Bradshaw’s application

Late runners

How many skeptics does it take to win a homeopathic job?

My (late) attempt

And for those wanting to impress NHS Tayside with their homeopathic credentials would be well-advised to get up to Dundee — they are holding a ‘Health Fair‘ on Tuesday 24 August 2010. It is an:

…opportunity for the public to give their views on their experience of NHS Tayside and ideas they may have to improve the current service and how they would like to see future services shaped.

An opportunity not to be missed!

The comedy continues:

My second application for a job as a Homeopath

how two scientists applied to be homeopaths

Further applications will be inserted here as I find them.

Freedom of Information Act Request

I’ve just submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act to NHS Tayside to better understand their involvement in homeopathy and other AltMed nonsense:

To: [email protected]

Please treat this email as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Please supply the following information:

1. What therapies you consider to be ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ or included under the heading of ‘integrated’.

2. What NHS Tayside’s policy is on each of the therapies identified at 1.

3. Copies of any guidance or memorandums the NHS Tayside has issued to GPs, staff, patients or others regarding each of the therapies identified at 1.

4. Details of any NHS Tayside posts relating to any of the therapies identified at 1, including job specifications or descriptions.

5. The number of patients treated with each of the therapies identified at 1, including any referred outside of NHS Tayside.

6. How much the NHS Tayside spent in each of the past five years commissioning or otherwise providing or supporting each of the therapies identified at 1, including the cost per patient.

7. Details of any internal memos, minutes, reports, etc concerning any of the therapies identified at 1.

8. Details of any discussion or communication with any patient representative organisations about any of the therapies identified at 1.

9. Details of any discussions, meetings or contracts with the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital or any other similar institution.

10. Details of any discussion or communication with any group, trade body, regulator or other organisation representing any of the therapies identified at 1.

11. Details of any proposed policy that concerns the commissioning or otherwise providing or supporting each of the therapies identified at 1.

If you have any doubt as to whether any information falls within the scope of my request, please assume it does.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

I’ll post the response when I get it, but it may take a few weeks.

46 Responses to NHS Tayside want to employ a new doctor

  • Zeno,
    Hey, why don’t one of you guys get a mail order homeopathy degree,apply for the job
    and start dispensing those magic beans. Easy £68.000! I’d bet Ben Goldacre could fake it.

  • Members of the Faculty of Homeopathy, need to be “statutorily registered healthcare professionals” (dentists, doctors, nurses, midwives, osteopaths, pharmacists, podiatrists and veterinary surgeons So this is at least 36,800 pounds for two four hour sessions a week by a quack-nurse, or up to 68,638 pounds for two four hour sessions a week by a doctor who has unlearnt diagnostics and has no real expertise.
    Ridiculously large salaries for so little knowledge or expertise. Twenty years of really high IT skills doesn’t get me that much.

  • May be useful prep for anyone who gets an interview.
    Or perhaps just an interesting compare and contrast:

    http://bit.ly/9gcZmN vs http://bit.ly/bwtAa0

    Best of luck with the applications.

  • “During each session, one New and 6 -7 Return patients will be seen and homeopathic treatment prescribed”.

    Quite apart from the quackery and the ludicrrous salary, do NHS trusts normally TELL prospective employees what to do? Just supposing the homeoquackic “doctor” decides that the person does not need any sugar pills prescribed? Does the trust have someone on the board from Ainsworths or Nelsons – or even the mighty Helios (http://www.helios.co.uk/) which has, I think, the most comprehensive list of remedies – but don’t look at it with your mouthful as you might choke.

  • I’ve thrown my hat in too – but please don’t tell anyone. I want to keep it as potent as possible.

  • Dear Zeno
    One question of considerable relevance to the decisions about the appropriateness of provision of homeopathic treatment on the NHS that I think has not yet been addressed please correct me if I am wrong) is whether the preference of the patient for homeopathy affects the magnitude of either the total effects or the specific effects of heomeopathic treatment. A perhaps even more important question is how the preference of the patient for homeopathy effects the magnitude of the total effects and side effects of treatment that is not their preference. [I seem to remember that some research by AF Leuchter at UCLA gave some indication that side effects were greater in treatment that was not prefered but I have not been able to find it.]
    My reading seems to indicate that the principle factor determining the magnitude of the non-specific effects of treatment is the enthusiasm of both the patient and the practitioner for the treatment. If this is correct research to answer the above question seems reasonable.

  • Sorry I missed that, Kevin. Now added.

  • Do you idiots not have anything better to do?

  • In case you really are THAT stupid, the £68,000 is a top scale pay (bottom end being nearly £37,000) and also it is obviously pro-rata

  • Just to clarify for you, from the article, it reads, the post is for 2 sessions and not for a full-time post (which the pay scale would be based upon)

  • Joe Bloggs

    Thanks for spending so much of your time pointing that out.

  • Most welcome. Hardly took me a minute to read the article and come to that conclusion so not much time wasted. Thank you so much for caring.

  • Joe Bloggs said.

    “In case you really are THAT stupid, the £68,000 is a top scale pay (bottom end being nearly £37,000) and also it is obviously pro-rata”.

    So what?

    And haven’t you got anything better to do with your time than leave snarky little comments on someone’s blog?

    Idiot.

  • Skeptical – I think you are the idiot spending time trying to put people out of a job

  • Whatever.

    I’d still like to know why you felt the need to point out that the £68 grand is a top scale pay. What difference do you think it makes?

  • Joe Bloggs – proud possessor of an petulant tone & piss poor points. I smell a hacked-off homeopath.

  • Triple Blind studies, Double-Blind Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trial, Systematic Reviews & Meta Analysis, Evidence-base

    130+ studies in support of homeopathy medicine published in 52 peer-reviewed international journals

    here

    Medicines for specific disease conditions, Ultra-molecular dilutions, Structure & Memory of Water, Animal Studies, Plant Studies

    P.S.:Remember the links are reciprocal. Let’s reciprocate on each other site. Waiting for a fixed time for approval

  • Nancy

    I haven’t deleted your spam comment because I want everyone to know how pathetic your knol page is.

    Nancy Malik (or to give her her full medical title Nancy Malik) tries to maintain that these 130-odd papers actually support homeopathy.

    They do nothing of the sort.

    Xtaldave utterly demolished the vast majority of them in his blog post: Scientific evidence for homeopathy?.

    I have edited your comment to make the link to your knol page a rel=”nofollow” link so you don’t get any Google credit from your spamming here.

  • Zeno

    Your spam comments will also not be deleted until we keep reciprocate on each other site.

    20 most Frequently Asked Questions & Answers on Homeopathy

    Q. How homeopathy medicine provides a strong and stable foundation for your health?
    Q. What are the preventive medicines in Homeopathy?
    Q. What are those 14 good reasons that patients choose Homeopathy medicine over conventional as the choice of medical treatment?

    here

    Classical homeopathy, constitutional treatment, Role of Symptoms, Homeopathic Consultation

  • Nancy

    You obviously have a completely different understanding of the word ‘spam’ to everyone else.

    You have made the same comment on a large number of websites. I haven’t.

    You are spamming. I am not.

    Perhaps your time might be better spent pointing out to xtaldave where he has made mistakes or misunderstood in his complete demolition of your ‘proof’ of homeopathy? Or are you just not able to?

  • I have already explained him homeopathy

    here

    Click on the link above to know about
    Health, Principles, Working, Medicines
    Definition of Health, Principles of Homoeopathy, How homoeopathy works?, Sources of Homeopathic medicines, What medical conditions homeopathy treat? Preventive Medicine

  • Nancy

    You have explained absolutely nothing.

    Why won’t you address the XtalDave’s criticisms of the papers you cite in support of homeopathy?

    Just take a few of them and try to show why he is wrong and why you are right. Go on. Give it a go.

  • His criticism does not stand any worth?

    I have already told him that homeopathy is growing.

    http://knol.google.com/k/dr-nancy-malik-bhms/status-of-homeopathy/pocy7w49ru14/7

    Click on the link above to know the status of homeopathy all over the world

  • Nancy said:

    His criticism does not stand any worth?

    Are you asking?

    I have already told him that homeopathy is growing.

    LOL! Well that settles it, then, doesn’t it. You’ve told XtalDave that homeopathy is growing, therefore his demolition of your ‘evidence’ is wrong? Is that really the best you can do?

    I’ll ask again: please give us a critique of a few of XtalDave’s demolitions of papers you cited.

  • Zeno, Did you ever get a response to your FOI request, above? Am a journalist working on a story about homeopathy in the Scottish NHS

  • I’ve never read such a load of puerile nonsense in my life. The bottom line is that Homeopathy is the medicine of the future and bungling allopathy has had its day. We spend billions of pounds each year on this have a go medicine which we take at our peril. On the other hand, Homeopathy is precise and highly effective, and cost effective.
    So to all you small minded Luddites out there, carry on your idiocy, it will get you nowhere in the end.

  • Eddie

    Thanks for your comment.

    As and when homeopathy is shown to be efficacious in robust and independent trials that are repeatable and when a plausible mechanism of action is proposed, it might be deserving of the title ‘medicine’. Until then, it is correctly called ‘nonsense’.

  • Zeno
    a. Have you or anyone close to you ever had Homeopathic treatment ?
    b. Are you capable of approaching this subject with an unprejudiced mind ?
    c. Are you willing to admit that things do happen beyond the molecule ?
    d. Can you honestly, with hand on heart, accept that the future of medicine lies in chemical substances ?

    If you can answer yes to all of the above, great, I’ll be more than willing to continue this conversation.

    Hopefully one day, you’ll wake up to the marvellous smell of coffee. Until then, give these power looms hell Ned

  • Eddie

    a. Yes, but it’s irrelevant to the question of whether homeopathy does or doesn’t work or whether there is or isn’t a plausible mechanism of action.

    b. Yes. All I need to convince me to change my mind is…well, see my previous comment.

    c. I don’t understand what you mean by the question.

    d. Since everything consists of ‘chemical substances’, I don’t understand what you mean by the question.

  • Zeno
    Just as I suspected, you don’t have any meaningful answers to any of my question so we’ll better just leave it there.

  • Eddie

    Supply meaningful questions and you might get meaningful answers.

  • Zeno
    I think you should stop digging! Ignorance is not a virtue. My advice to you is that if you don’t even have as much as half a clue about a subject, you shouldn’t be engaging in a critical conversation about it.

  • Once you’ve decided what you mean by your questions, please come back and ask them cogently.

  • Zeno
    The questions are basic to anyone with an open mind on the subject of Homeopathy and similar vibrational branches of medicine and I’m amazed you are struggling to answer them. It’s probably not your fault. You are probably typical of this sound byte culture we live in.
    I’m going to call a halt here because I think this conversation has run its useful course.

  • Having an open mind about homeopathy has nothing to do with whether your questions had any discernible meaning and that’s why I’m ‘struggling’ to answer them.

    Let’s look at them.

    I answered questions a and b.

    c. Are you willing to admit that things do happen beyond the molecule ?

    I have no doubt you think you know what you mean by ‘beyond the molecule’, but can you tell me whether you are referring to something that isn’t molecular, something smaller than a molecule, something bigger than a molecule or something else?

    d. Can you honestly, with hand on heart, accept that the future of medicine lies in chemical substances ?

    Before I could answer that question, I need to know what you mean by ‘chemical substances’. My understanding of chemistry (which I believe to be nothing different to the usual informed understanding of it) tells me everything is composed of ‘chemical substances’. So, to me — and to many others — since everything is composed of ‘chemical substances’ it’s difficult to guess at what you mean. If you’d like an answer, you’ll need to explain what it is you are trying to ask.

    So, it’s not (as you assert) that I’m struggling to answer your questions, it’s that I’m struggling to understand what you mean by your questions.

    Also, in your last comment, you referred to ‘vibrational branches of medicine’. Can you explain what you mean? What vibrations are you referring to? Any examples of a vibration?

    PS Please refrain from assuming you know anything about me.

  • I’d like to know the point of Eddie’s first question. I’m close to Zeno and I’ve used homeopathy. And?

  • Hi Skepticat
    If you’ve had proper homeopathic treatment and I don’t mean isopathy where you self diagnose and pick up off the shelve at Boots, you’ll know that homeopathy works

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