• The Works

Selective Regulation

I have held off from posting about the Charity Commission for quite a while, because I wanted to give them enough time to fulfil the assurances they have given me and others about effectively regulating certain charities operating in the health space. But enough is enough. I have engaged with the Commission over the last eight years, and nothing substantive has changed. I don’t believe this is because it’s a basically useless regulator. Very detailed and professional-looking enquiry reports on a wide range of compliance issues in charities are published by the Commission. They know how to do the job, and have resources, but it looks as if there are bits of it they just don’t want to do.

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Gerson Therapy and `toxins’

Last week I had a particular reason to have a look at Gerson Therapy. For the uninitiated, this is a draconian regime based on extreme nutrition and other bizarre interventions such as coffee enemas and vitamin megadoses. It is widely claimed to be able to treat cancer. It’s a favourite ploy of quacks to explain that, when the patient gets worse instead of better, it is a sign that the treatment is working. For homeopaths it’s the `aggravation’, and for the Gerson brigade it’s this:

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Going Undercover – Homeopathy

I don’t blog very often, but when I do……

Here in Salisbury we have a homeopathy college. I’ve mentioned it before, as it hires premises from St Thomas’s church, which sees no problem with telling lies about how the body works. I noticed that the college was running an open day, to recruit more students. The event was today, so I booked in. Continue reading

The Charity Commission Consultation

Most readers should be aware that the Charity Commission has issued a consultation on the registration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) organisations as charities. This was after a five-year battle documented in other posts on this blog. In the interests of transparency I am posting my response here. Continue reading

Yet more on the Charity Commission

Are you bored with this? I am. Because with the Charity Commission it’s just the same old same old. Some of you might have seen a piece in The Sunday Times in March, which was quite hard-hitting. For example a professor of clinical epidemiology castigated a charity called The Vaccine Awareness Network, which just recycles all the anti-vaccination tropes. Continue reading

Making up Law on the Fly

I was going to apologise for yet another post about the Charity Commission, but on reflection why should I? This is a serious matter and whatever I do the Commission seems more determined to look silly. You’ll recall that they have accepted that their internal guidance on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) contains major errors of fact and logic, but that they refuse to update it. They did say however that my own review of the guidance would be circulated internally, as case officers also have to take into account updated information as well as approved guidance when making decisions. So I decided to see whether that had had any effect. Continue reading

The Charity Commission – so near and yet so far

Some things take time, and it’s rewarding to get even a tiny bit of progress. My effort to get the Charity Commission to introduce an evidence-based policy has at last reached the stage of a reasonably sensible dialogue, but not yet any meaningful action. To recap, there are several charities that make misleading health claims, homeopathy of course being a prime example. I have been asking the Commission why they granted charity status to these organisations, when they clearly fail the public benefit test. For the full back story read my posts here, here, here and here – in reverse order. Continue reading

Yet More Weasel Words from the Charity Commission

At last the Commission has provided what they describe as their “conclusion of stage one complaint process”. If you are new to this saga you’ll need to read my previous posts on the subject here, here and here. If you have done that, you will not be surprised to learn that the Commission still refuses to accept logical arguments about homeopathy charities. Continue reading

The Charity Commission – from bad to worse

It’s well over a year since I complained to the Commission about charities that promote homeopathy. The total lack of progress with that was documented recently. So far I have learned nothing about the Commission’s undertaking to review its policy on the public benefit obligation of such charities. To test whether anything has changed, on 30th July I sent in another complaint, this time against Homeopathy In Africa (charity number 1125981). Continue reading

The Charity Commission and Quack Charities – Update

This quick update is more about the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO) than about the Charity Commission, which is currently silent as usual. When I phoned the PHSO on 11th May I was told that a letter had been sent on 30th April. Yesterday (18th May) nothing had arrived, so I phoned the PHSO again. At my request the letter concerned was emailed to me. It wasn’t actually a letter, but text pasted into the email, and dated 1st May. Here it is: Continue reading

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