David Tredinnick is a Tory Member of Parliament who appears to be obsessed with a couple of issues. In the past year, he has received 17 written answers to questions he has asked in parliament (below average), and they appear to cover two issues: firstly, the promotion of superstitious forms of medicine; and secondly, protestors making Parliament Square look unsightly.
I suppose in such ways Tredinnick feels he is best serving the interests of his constituents in Bosworth.
On the 8th of March, Hansard records that Tredinnick asked the following question to Health Minister, Andrew ‘La La’ Lansley:
The cancer drugs fund is available only for pharmaceutical drugs, but can it be used for wider support services, such as healers, aromatherapists, those using therapeutic touch and other such practitioners?
We are finalising the design of the future cancer drugs fund from April, and we will publish shortly. The interim cancer drugs fund is designed to support new effective medicines, based on clinical panels’ assessments of the needs of individual patients.
I hope that is a ‘no’ then. But given Lansley lack of candour over his current plans for the NHS, then we will have to see.
The cancer drugs fund is rather controversial to begin with. The Conservatives introduced ‘extra money’ to allow doctors to prescribe cancer drugs that had not yet been approved by NICE. This approval process is designed to examine if treatments can be shown to be effective and whether they represent ‘value for money’. This fund may well allow some patients access to treatments that have not yet been through the process and may well prolong their lives. It also may not. The details will be in how the fund is used and how effective the drugs actually turn out to be.
However, Tredinnick wants to extend this fund’s usage to superstitious and pseudoscientific forms of cancer treatment.
As for aromatherapy. Now, I have nothing in principle against the idea that pleasant smelling oils may help mood. And they may well help people cope with the stresses of serious diseases and their treatments. Fine. Although, even the evidence for this is not strong. Scarily, it is not too difficult to find practitioners that think that aromatherapy can do a great deal more that relieve stress.
Therapeutic Touch is a sort of ‘’laying on of hands’ where ‘Touchers’ wave their hands over someone’s body in an attempt to realign the ‘energy field’. Practitioners claim to be able to detect an manipulate this energy field which is supposed to be causing illness. This claim was unequivocally shown to be false by Emily Rosa in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. What is quite remarkable about this paper is that when the paper was published, Emily was aged nine. She holds the record for the youngest person to be published in a peer reviewed medical journal.
As for Tredinnick’s other obsession – the peace protestors outside of parliament, we have recently heard the sad news that the central figure in this protest, Brian Haw, has lung cancer and is being ‘treated abroad’.
However, there are reports that Haw’s treatments are far from conventional and may well be closer to the sorts of treatments that Tredinnick is so fond of.
Now, I am not really able to confirm this, as the only sources I can find for the nature of Haw’s treatments come from a former Coventry City goalkeeper, BBC Sports presenter and Green Party spokesperson turned son-of-god.
David Icke appears to be claiming that he has persuaded him to visit “Italian cancer expert, Tullio Simoncini”.
Simoncini shows the hallmark of a true quack by claiming cancer has a One True Cause – in this case, cancer is a fungus and can be cured by injections of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). In his native Italy, his medical license was withdrawn and he was convicted of “wrongful death and swindling”.
Moving to the Netherlands, he was investigated after a 50 year old woman died after being injected with baking soda. The Dutch Health Care Inspectorate warned that “the cancer treatment advocated by Tulio Simoncini is ineffective and dangerous”.
If Haw really is under Simoncini’s care, then it’s appalling that one of Tredinnick’s obsessive wishes – to clear long term anti-war protestors away from Parliament, may come about by the hands of those who practice his other obsession – unproven, nonsensical pseudo-medical treatments.
I think I am going to spend the rest of the day wondering how we can have a political system that gives safe positions in parliament to such deluded idiots.