15 Aug, 10 | by Iain Brassington
Xtaldave, who does things with science here at the University of Manchester, has found a vacancy for a job working as an NHS homeopath in Tayside – a trust that has just had to shed 500 real jobs.
Manchester is nice, but Tayside is nicer, and the pay is excellent. Naturally, he’s applied for it.
Whilst I have no formal medical qualification, I believe that I am ideally suited for the job of handing out sugar pills to unsuspecting patients on behalf of NHS Scotland. My PhD level scientific training and 6½ years postdoctoral experience means that I know lots of scientific and biomedical buzz words with which I can bamboozle prospective patients like “medical biomimicry”, “postconditioning hormesis” “quantum entanglement” and “the placebo effect.”
My biochemistry degree means that I am familiar with such vagaries as Avogadro’s constant, but given the extremely attractive salary (at least compared to scientific research), I’m sure I could be convinced to overlook the fact that homeopathic remedies with a potency over 12C contain zero molecules of active ingredient whatsoever.
The original research that I have published means that I am familiar with the body of published work on homeopathy, and the many meta-analyses and systematic reviews conducted on it. The fact that these conclude that homeopathy is no more effective than a similarly administered placebo will not bother me whilst I am taking advantage of some of the excellent salmon fishing to be found in the Tayside region. Indeed, given the fact the position only calls for the successful applicant to attend two sessions per week, I should imagine I would have plenty of time to indulge in a bit of fishing.
In conclusion, whilst I may be an atypical applicant for this post, I will do my level best to help any patients referred to me to get the best healthcare the NHS can offer – by referring them straight back to a doctor who won’t prescribe them worthless sugar pills at the taxpayers expense.
With a supporting statement like that, I’d've thought he ought at least to be interviewed…
UPDATE: David Colquhoun, who has (ahem) experience with this sort of thing, is applying as well. I’m beginning to wonder whether I should give it a go, too. I’ve only got a disappointing GCSE in physics, but I did try nux vomica to treat a migraine when I was younger – and only a few hours and a good sleep later, I’d almost completely recovered. Take that, science!