Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health Closes

As predicted last week, Prince Charles Charity has closed amid claims of fraud, money laundering and misuse of charity status.

Their statement reads.

30 April 2010

The Trustees of The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health have decided to close the charity. Whilst the closure has been planned for many months and is part of an agreed strategy, the Trustees have brought forward the closure timetable as a result of a fraud investigation at the charity.

The Trustees feel that The Foundation has achieved its key objective of promoting the use of integrated health. Since The Foundation was set up in 1993, integrated health has become part of the mainstream healthcare agenda, with over half a million patients using complementary therapies each year, alongside conventional medicine.

From 2000-2007, at the request of the Department of Health, The Foundation ran a regulation programme which resulted in the creation, in 2008, of an independent self-regulatory body for complementary therapy, called the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

On 1st April 2010, the Secretary of State for Health announced plans to introduce statutory regulation for herbalists and to consider the equivalent for acupuncture.

The Trustees believe that the best way of promoting integrated healthcare in the future is through the networks of specialist practitioners which the charity has helped to establish.

These networks have brought together specialists and proponents of integrated healthcare, such as doctors, nurses, clinicians, consultants, scientists and students.

It is laughable that they claim their “key objective of promoting the use of integrated health” has succeeded. Their initiatives to create new regulatory bodies for quackery, University courses in nonsense and increased use of magic medicine in the NHS have all failed.

The fact that the charity were planning a big conference in July would suggest that this has not indeed been planned for ‘many months’. Recent arrests and the inability for the charity to submit accounts to the Charity Commissioner would suggest a more forced closure. It is inconceivable that Prince Charles would abandon his support for homeopathy if his hand was not being forced.

The concept of Integrated Medicine is a trojan horse. Strip away the cosy rhetoric of caring for the “whole person” and what you find is a payload of quackery, pseudo-medicine and anti-scientific nonsense. The FIH has been notorious for promoting absurd treatments including homeopathy, reiki and acupuncture despite the evidence overwhelming suggesting these are useless treatments.

As such, the FIH has been a menace to the public understanding of science and its role in healthcare. It will not be missed by all those who care about science, reason and good health.

It is also a little delicious irony that they issued a rather spiteful news item last month suggesting that “Professor Ernst damaged by FIH”. This follows the news that Ernst’s rather wonderful research group in Exeter is struggling to find funds. The Exeter group was one of the few non partisan research centres in the world that provided unbiased and quality reviews of alternative medicine. As such, he was hated by the proponents of pseudo-medicine, such as Charles and FIH. And now, Ernst has outlived his supposed nemesis.

See Also

The end of the Prince’s Foundation for Magic Medicine


What is a Toad Eater?

from Michael Quinion:

We have to go back to British market and fairground quack doctors of the seventeenth century and earlier for the origin of this one. It was common for such men to have an assistant to do the dirty work, often somebody young or half-witted or otherwise under the boss’s thumb. As part of their sales pitch, such fake medical men sometimes made their assistants eat (or more usually, pretend to eat) a toad.

The common European toad was commonly regarded as poisonous, as the warty glands on its skin secrete a rather nasty milky fluid when the animal is threatened (friends who are into natural history report they’ve handled toads many times and never had any trouble, but then they’ve not actually tried eating one alive; I’m told a dead one isn’t poisonous, provided you strip the skin off first, but the experiment is not to be recommended). The quack doctor would use his nostrums to make an apparently miraculous cure on his assistant and so enhance his reputation and his sales.

As a result, toad-eater came to be a nickname for a servile assistant to a showman. By the following century it had generalised into a term for any fawning flatterer or sycophant, and by the nineteenth century was often shortened to toady.

14 Comments on Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health Closes

  1. On a related note, I just asked my prospective Lib Dem MP (Ray Earwicker, Bracknell) three questions…

    1/ What is your position on faith schools, how would you vote in the House of Commons on issues regarding faith schools?

    2/ Do you think NHS money should be spent on alternative medicine, like Homeopathy, Chiropractic etc?

    3/ What do you think of the Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Integrated Health and his efforts to influence the acceptance and availability of alternative therapies on the NHS?

    Here is is answer:

    “Basically our position on faith schools is that we welcome them but believe that the school intake should be inclusive. This means that the school admissions policy should be open to all comers.

    I’m fairly sure we have nothing against the use of alternative medicines in principle and I sometimes use homeopathy remedies myself. As far as the Prince of Wales’ initiative is concerned I think we would support that too.”

    It seems this prospective MP backed a bad one.

  2. this is good news for all who are in favour of truth,transparency and progress and has the potential to improve the health of the nation.charles will ,of course,not give up his bizzare ideas but he will find it a lot more difficult to recruit people to them.even the most thick-skinned sicophant might draw the line at becomming a national laughing stock.
    an important triumph for rational thought and a remarkable victory in the battle against bogus ideas,treatments and means that the creation of the [royal?]”college of integrated health” which was planned for later this year and involved all the usual suspects is an even more farcical idea.with a bit of luck,it might not materialize at all.

    • The College of Integrated Health may well have a very hard time establishing itself. I have just noticed that the Faculty of Integrated Medicine – one of the darlings of Dixon and the FIH – has as one of its medical advisors a Dr Sarah Myhill. Now, Myhill had her prescribing rights taken away by the GMC yesterday and conditions put on her registration. What a bizarre world.

      • Crikey. Was she really their medical advisor? She seems to be one of the “clinical ecology” types who believe that people are allergic to everything and/or being poisoned by metals/toxins/EMF etc.

        Actually I’ve just looked and I see the FIM’s “Advisory Board” also has Andrew Weil and Kim Jobst, talking of the usual suspects. And chaired by Karol Sikora too.

        Presumably the folding of the Buckingham course is not going to reflect all that well on FIM either in terms of “academic credibility”.

  3. dubious claims and dubious accounting abound in the world. Now that the FIH is to close, please can we go after the bankers?

  4. Pass a law preventing royals from trading on their status, or require parliamentary consent before they lend their title.

    For instance, I’d rather it would be called: Charles Windsor’s foundation for integrated health.

  5. Thank you for keeping us up to date on the situation. Special thaks also to prof. Ernst for the courage to stand up against the Princ’s representative, physician, and others. Classy acts all around. If this had all occurred a few months previously, perhaps the Obama health plan in the US might not have included coverage for prayer, and all sorts of other toady, grunty affronteries.

    • Prayer and similar orthodox woo is part of the context in the United States. Don’t forget that “Obama’s” plan is not written by Obama, but by members of the United States Congress, and to get generally progressive measures passed, these have to be bought off with all sorts of junk. That nonsense ends when the power of religion wanes in United States society. It’s declining now, slowly, but it won’t be comatose for a while yet.

  6. I once had the pleasure of being invited to an FIH event in Bristol as the representative of a professional organisation working in mental health ( and a senior pharmacist working locally. I was aware it could be a bit like a lions den but most people were polite (except the lady offering hyperbaric therapy for everything) even when they deduced I was a schill for the big multinational companies trying to crush alternative therapies when I appealed for an evidence base for all the therapies on offer. Very little was on the table for real patients despite the plethora of therapies that the seminar “agreed” needed to be available for mental health issues.

    The presentations were lacklustre – relying on hypothesis rather than evidence – even the one presented by some physiotherapist.

    The day was not especially helped by my consultant psychiatrist colleague who had some interesting ideas about therapy with lion dung…….

    Still, rather than viewing the charity as “mostly harmless” I came away with the impression that real harm could be promulgated by these serious and well-meaning people who had not the slightest inkling what they were about – despite being utterly confident that they had all the answers.

  7. the latest news is that the arrested two FIH officers are the [ex]chief executive and his wife. charles and his followers point out in every press release that they are proud of what FIH have me ,these sound like comments from a different planet;they have achieved only shamefull things – and now they are gearing up to new horizons and nonsense on an even bigger scale.they must be from a different planet!

  8. Edzard, the arrestee is George Gray, former finance director, ex-acting chief exec and very much in charge of the spending during his time at the FIH. Goodness knows what kind of mess he has left them in.

  9. As Prof Ernst says, this is indeed great news for all those who favour truth, transparency etc., though the fact that the FIH is being closed as a result of financial malfeasance rather than the rubbish they’ve been peddling takes the shine off it somewhat.

9 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Prince Charles and alternative medicine « (the) health informaticist
  2. David Tredinnick in quacks for questions « gimpy’s blog
  3. Sikora & al-Megrahi « gimpy’s blog
  4. The Curious Last Quack of the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health | The Quackometer
  5. Farewell to the RLHH, hello to the RLHIM « gimpy’s blog
  6. The GP Commissioning Consortium for Integrated Medicine | The Quackometer
  7. How to Spot Bad Regulation of Alternative Medicine. | The Quackometer
  8. Doses of Expedience | The Quackometer
  9. The end of the Prince’s Foundation for Magic Medicine

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