For the past 5 years, I've spent a fair amount of time talking to people about the reality of the National Health Service (NHS) in England. That it is actually a very good service and an organization I'm rather proud to work within. I've worked hard to convince friends, family, and readers back in the USA that every horrible thing they've heard about it is not true. There really isn't a 3-year wait for a hip replacement, really.
Now along comes David Tredinnick, MP (Minister of Parliament) and member of the health committee and science and technology committee in government. The right, honorable gentleman has come forward saying that astrology should be offered along with other complementary and alternative therapies for patients.
I actually like astrology. I've had my chart read, I read horoscopes on Facebook, and I find it an interesting pastime. That doesn't mean I think it should be part of a treatment option nor should one make life decisions based on the practice. As professionals, we move more and more into evidence-based practice and away from the "voodoo" treatments identified by Gina Kolata in her damning New York Times piece printed in 2010.
We have worked long and hard to prove that what we do is effective, reproducible, and provides value for money for our patients. I certainly don't want to go backward to "voodoo" therapy.
There are some complementary treatments, such as acupuncture, which do have evidence to support their usage. Fantastic! I'm all for pushing boundaries so long as something holds up to scrutiny. It troubles me that there are people supporting this man's ideas. It troubles me even more that he's on a health committee. I suppose I have only one piece of advice for this fine gentleman. It comes from another Englishman from quite a few years back. "The fault, dear Minister, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves."