This mole doesn’t often sniff around Westminster’s committee corridor, but it can’t help making a mountain out of this one. As health select committee chair, Stephen Dorrell, respected on both sides of the house for his impartial scrutiny, stands down from his position, there are a few candidates up to replace him. They include Dr Philip Lee, and current health select committee members Charlotte Leslie, Dr Sarah Wollaston (former GP), and David Tredinnick, Tory MP for Bosworth.
Now, the other nominees are unsurprising, but even the fact that Tredinnick was voted to sit on the committee in the first place is worrying. He has some rather eccentric views when it comes to healthcare. Here they are:
The full moon could affect your blood
In 2001 I raised in the House the influence of the moon, on the basis of the evidence then that at certain phases of the moon there are more accidents. Surgeons will not operate because blood clotting is not effective and the police have to put more people on the street. I am arguing for more research.
During the expenses scandal, Tredinnick was done for charging the taxpayer over £755 on special astrology software about linking astrology to therapies.
Cows should be given homeopathic treatment
During the Foot and Mouth epidemic, Tredinnick asked Defra to consider “homeopathic remedies, including borax, in relation to the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease”. Among other things, Borax solution is an ingredient in Silly Putty.
Homeopathy can be used to treat HIV, TB and malaria
He made a speech in the House in 2008, quoting from a letter written to him by a homeopath he knew well in Swaziland:
‘Aside from the predominant treatment for HIV, TB and malaria, [homeopathic] treatment is being given for many other common ailments such as urinary infections, diarrhoea, skin eruptions, diabetes, epilepsy, eye infections, intestinal parasites, treatment from pregnancy to childbirth, to more serious but locally common ailments like cancer, gangrene, toxaemia…and general injuries…In other words the list is endless.’
The letter states that the homeopathic treatments have achieved success rates of close to 100 per cent.
‘As a result many lives have been saved, and pain and misery alleviated, in a community which can simply not afford orthodox treatment even if it were available.’
That is a very important issue for developing countries. Homeopathy is so inexpensive that it is available to everyone. When homeopathic services are introduced, they tend to increase in size very quickly… I hope that the Minister can reassure me on guidelines for primary care trusts so that we have more effective commissioning. I hope that he will refute those statements made in the name of his Department and that he will commission NICE to look at the cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in line with the request of the Smallwood report.
He has been badgering health secretaries on “complementary medicine” for years. In a recent letter, he wrote to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt asking for homeopathy not simply to be considered a “placebo”. (And it looks like Hunt isn’t completely anti himself.)
Our science columnist Michael Brooks ran against Tredinnick in 2010 to “highlight the scientific literacy of the UK’s elected representatives” via a hustings debate. During the debate, the MP made no excuses or denials of his outlandish views.
Someone give the man some smelling salts…