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Conventional medicine also takes shared approach

Professor Edzard Ernst's recent blog about complementary medicine contains an interesting link to an article by Dr Michael Dixon, medical director of the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health ('Do complementary and alternative therapies do more harm than good?').

Dr Dixon suggests that: 'Integrated healthcare takes into account patients' personal circumstances, their beliefs, their lifestyles. And it treats them as equal partners in decisions about their treatment.'

This is exactly what I spend my time teaching medical students.

It is not, in any shape or form, an approach unique to alternative medicine. A shared approach to decision making is exactly how most GPs go about their business.

Patients deserve the best information we can give them to inform their choices.

The best information is not anecdotal and dismissive of good clinical trials. The best information points away from most alternative medicines.

Incidentally, I am not one of the GPs Professor Ernst criticises for believing that complementary treatments are always safe.

It's ludicrous and I don't know of a single doctor who would make such an assertion.

From Dr Euan Lawson, Cumbria

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