Despite a growing public demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and its widespread acceptance in the NHS, there is a backlash among many doctors and others who reject it as unscientific. While universities offer more and more science degree courses in CAM, opponents consider them unscientific and ‘Mickey Mouse’. But CAM supporters say they’ve not had the necessary funding to research its effectiveness, although they know it works, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is coming under pressure to evaluate CAM.
Does it matter that CAM is not based on conventional science, as long as it works, or even as long as people believe it works? Supporters suggest it should be a matter of patients’ choice, but critics argue it is misleading to give the stamp of medical authority to dodgy superstition. Is there any room for CAM in 21st century healthcare?
|Professor Edzard Ernst|
Laing chair in Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth
|Dr Stuart Derbyshire|
reader in psychology, University of Birmingham; associate editor, Psychosomatic Medicine and Pain
|Dr Toby Murcott|
science writer and broadcaster; Body & Soul contributor; author, The Whole Story - Alternative Medicine on Trial?
writer & researcher; retired nurse and fundraiser
|Bríd Hehir writer & researcher; retired nurse and fundraiser|
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