Edzard Ernst gives his side of the story as he is involved in a major row over the Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Integrated Health in the national media
On Saturday, it was announced that the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH) is being investigated by the Charity Commission . The story was also picked up a day later by the Sunday Telegraph . Two of the three allegations made against FIH are related to what has recently been revealed by Pulse:
1) Pulse published an article about the threats of closure to my unit and the notion that this might be partly related to HRH’s private secretary’s complaints about me. ‘Republic’, the organisation that has filed the complaint against FIH, alleges that ‘FIH may be acting in the interest of its President… rather than under the governance of its Trustee board’
2) Pulse published an article by Dr Michael Dixon, OBE and medical director of FIH, where he finds exceedingly harsh words for me personally. Republic call this a ‘vitriolic attack’ and believe that this ‘risks embroiling the charity in a personal dispute which could damage its reputation and undermine its ability to achieve its stated objectives’
3) The third point made by Republic is that ‘there is the appearance of a conflict of interest’ because the chairman of UK’s leading manufacturer of homeopathic and natural healthcare products is a trustee of FIH
Many Pulse readers might be tempted to think that I am in some way involved in Republic’s actions. They would be wrong.
The letter by Republic legitimately mentions my name and I do believe it makes valid points. But I only learnt about all this once the complaint to the Charity Commission had been filed and I have no connection to Republic. (If I remember correctly, the organisation invited me once to give a lecture but that never happened).
I did, however, talk to the Guardian when they phoned me on Friday evening, minutes before their article went to press, and I provided a quote which they used in part for their article.
My comment was as follows: ‘For far too long has the Prince of Wales been allowed to use his FIH as his private tool for popularizing his strange and antiscientific views on healthcare.
‘In the process, public funds have been wasted, the British public were systematically misled and progress was hindered. In my view, the field of complementary medicine would benefit greatly, if the FIH ceased to exist and the funds thus freed were directed towards rigorous research.’