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King Charles: Friend of Alternative Medicine

Photo: Adrian Dennis / AFP

King Charles has appointed a homeopathy advocate as head of the royal medical household and has been heavily criticised by academics for this. They call the decision worrying and inappropriate, as reported by the Guardian, among others.

Dr. Michael Dixon, who advocates faith healing and herbalism in his work as a general practitioner, has quietly held the senior position for a year, writes the Sunday Times.

The 71-year-old Dixon may be the head of the royal medical household, but for the first time this function is not associated with that of a doctor to the monarch. His duties include taking overall responsibility for the health of the king and the entire royal family – and also representing them in talks with the government.

Experts warn of weakening of NHS

He once invited a Christian healer to his practice to treat chronically ill patients. He also experimented with prescribing devil's claw for shoulder pain and goat weed for impotence, reports the Sunday Times.

Edzard Ernst, professor emeritus at the University of Exeter who has exposed alternative medicine with his work, told the Guardian: "Anyone who promotes homeopathy undermines evidence-based medicine and rational thinking. The former weakens the NHS, the latter will hurt society."

He continued: "We and others have shown that homeopathy is not an effective therapy, which is now generally accepted. To me, that means that their only legitimate place in the history books of medicine."

Buckingham Palace defends appointment

Ernst went on to say that "the king can appoint whomever he wants," but pointed out that his book on the king's interest in alternative medicine shows "that in the field of health care, he often seems to favor people who promote dubious therapies."

Buckingham Palace defended Dixon's appointment, saying, "He takes the position that complementary therapies can be used alongside conventional treatments, provided they are safe, appropriate and evidence-based."