In which I apply for a job as a homeopath…

A story in the Daily Express has been doing the rounds on twitter, regarding NHS Tayside’s decision to sack 500 staff, but still advertise a £68,000 per year post for a homeopath.

Whilst I discussed this over dinner with my wife, Natalie, she suggested that I should apply for the position — she then suggested that maybe every skeptic with 30mins spare could also apply for the position. 😀

Given the post pays nearly twice what I earn now, and is only to cover 2 sessions per week, I thought “why the hell not”. Tayside is quite a nice neck of the woods.

The application details are found here, and I have e-mailed my completed form to recruitment.tayside@nhs.net.

As a guide, I thought I’d share my “statement in support of application” with you:

” 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.”

Fingers crossed, eh?


EDIT – Today myself, David Colqhoun and Dean Burnett have all received requests from NHS Tayside for CVs, Immigration Status Forms, Declaration Statement and equal opportunities forms.

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64 Responses to In which I apply for a job as a homeopath…

  1. Zeno says:

    When you get the job, I can advise on areas to avoid in Dundee – but on that salary, you should be able to afford a house in Broughty Ferry.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Julie Melano, Dean, Dr Rachael Dunlop, Sarah Clare, David Briggs and others. David Briggs said: In which I apply for a job as a homeopath…: http://wp.me/pSvY2-5l #ten23 […]

  3. Jo Brodie says:

    This is a fine piece of work Dave – I hope you get an acknowledgement at least 🙂

    Other than vague geographic knowledge I know of Tayside mostly for its reputation of being competent in diabetes care and in record keeping (they’ve published some good stats in the past). It’s a bit of a shame to see this really.

  4. Skepticat says:

    The basket-cases who created this post are criminals who deserve to be flogged. But best of luck with the applications, anyway.

  5. Kash says:

    Great letter.

    But depressing that spending years learning chemistry and physics is not as financially rewarding as just making it all up as you go along, mentioning a few sciency-sounding phrases here and there.
    Very depressing.

  6. […] In which I apply for a job as a homeopath… « Anomalous Distraction […]

  7. […] In which I apply for a job as a homeopath… « Anomalous Distraction […]

  8. […] Consiga el empleo de sus sueños: hágase homeópata [ENG] xtaldave.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/in-which-i-apply-for-a-job…  por filopata hace 2 segundos […]

  9. […] This post was Twitted by antihuman_c […]

  10. […] 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 […]

  11. DoctorOHM says:

    Hope you get the job, better you than some real quack!

  12. Crocodile says:

    So, did you get the job? 😉

  13. Dr Rachie says:

    umm…homeopathy works! It just does! We don’t know how, but it does. Poo to you.

    PS try it for yourself.

    • Alice says:

      Umm…no it doesn’t!! It physically cannot!! We know exactly why it doesn’t work, and can quote you hundreds of articles and peer-reviewed journals as to exactly why it doesn’t work!! Go back to school, you child.

      PS, you’re not a doctor. You’re a quack. Quacks used to be executed.

  14. […] had applied for the job. If he can, why not I?   I found it hard to match the wit of his supporting statement, but just in case others want to apply, here’s my attempt. The more the merrier. […]

  15. Dean Burnett says:

    A brilliant idea, that caused my bandwagon reflex to kick in. So, as instructed, I applied too.

    Here’s my effort

    http://bit.ly/9Vrqm2

  16. blackwatertown says:

    Looking forward to hearing how you get on. Perhaps you and Dean Burnett should keep Private Eye informed too.
    http://www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

  17. Chris says:

    Boo the online applications are down. I have a phd in medieval archaeology and would be ideally suited to such a position.

  18. […] handing out sugar pills. Why not? There may be more, but so far I’ve seen applications from David Briggs, Dr Dean Burnett, and David Colquhoun. They were great applications. I decided I’d apply as […]

  19. […] as the excellent blog by twitterer and skeptic xtaldave points out, NHS Tayside are advertising for a £68,000 a year homeopath, despite having to sack […]

  20. Kev says:

    Terrible that NHS money is being wasted this way. All it achieves is to distort public understanding of science.
    I’ve joined the protest by applying for the job myself:

    • xtaldave says:

      No worries – nice work 🙂

      Do you Tweet, Kev?
      I was going to pass your link onto my pals on twitter and if you’ve got a twitter handle, I could stick that on too…

  21. Nancy Malik says:

    Real is scientific homeopathy. It cures even when Conventional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) fails. Nano doses of evidence-based modern homeopathy medicine brings big results for everyone

  22. […] News reaches these Canadian shores of an extraordinary job opportunity: a £68,000 per year post for a homeopath to work just two afternoons a week. I have decided to apply. […]

  23. Doc says:

    Y’all don’t know what you are up against. This Canadian wants in.

    http://plausibility.net/in-which-i-also-apply-for-a-job-as-a-homeopath/

  24. […] exercise in navel-gazing regarding engagement and whatnot. There is obviously a serious side to my protest/spoof application for the job of homeopath to NHS […]

  25. […] rewarding as just making it all up as you go along, his application was not a serious application. It was designed to ridicule: “I know lots of scientific and biomedical buzz words with which I can bamboozle prospective […]

  26. […] exercise in navel-gazing regarding engagement and whatnot. There is obviously a serious side to my protest/spoof application for the job of homeopath to NHS […]

  27. Dr Aust says:

    Class stuff, Dave.

    The salary is pro rata, obviously, but still quite impressive even by medical standards. For instance, Mrs Dr Aust is a jobbing part-time hospital doc (“Specialty Doctor”) with over a dozen yrs experience in acute medicine, Her “equivalent full time rate” would be at least 30% less than what this is quoting.

    The obvious conclusion salary-wise is that this is set at equivalent to an enhanced salaried GP rate (GP who isn’t a practice partner and therefore on a profit share) or to an “Associate Specialist” rate (senior non-consultant doc but with experience broadly equivalent to consultant and taking consultant level work).

    Either way it is a joke.

    Anyway, good luck with the application and let us know how you get on.

  28. xtaldave says:

    There is an edit above peeps – I’ve been sent some more info from NHSTayside…

  29. Jet Black says:

    Here’s my application, May the best man win!:

    ———–

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    As a professional physicist with degrees from * and a PhD from * I am well versed in quantum mechanics, the physical properties of crystals and electro-magnetic fields and can speak authoritatively on these subjects, which should be enough to convince homeopathy patients that they are feeling better. My knowledge also allows me to use key words and phrases in these areas, while being careful to not overextend myself and make myself liable should any of the patients see sense and realise that homeopathy is a complete load of rubbish.

    My background does not include chemistry directly, however an adequate knowledge of chemistry was gleaned in my A-Levels to know that handing out what is essentially just water is not dangerous at all, and even if I seed the first bottle with plutonium, by time I get to the last bottle I stand absolutely no chance of killing anyone at all, unless of course homeopathy is correct in which case the last dilution will probably spark a nuclear meltdown and dundee will have its own little version of the hiroshima bomb on its hands. Don’t worry, I promise not to try this.

    As an inquisitive scientist I look forward to the opportunity to be paid tens of thousands of pounds a year of taxpayers money to dilute something over and over again and see how incredibly potent the mixture becomes. Should I be granted the position, I will also attempt to see if these homeopathic models can be applied to such things as the fuel crisis, where a number of dilutions of a small amount of gasoline could power my car for a year.

    Please find attached a copy of my CV,

    I look forward to hearing from you

    *****

    • xtaldave says:

      Yawn.

      Jacobs (diarrhea) debunked here.
      http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=508

      Other paper is NOT statistically significant. The authors state that themselves.

      “Seventy-five children ages 18 months to 6 years with middle ear effusion and ear pain and/or fever for no more than 36 h were entered into the study…… Sample size calculations indicate that 243 children in each of 2 groups would be needed for significant results, based on 5-day failure rates.”

      RTFP, Nancy.

  30. Neuroskeptic says:

    I applied for the job too.

    I mean, I didn’t do anything. But that means my application is more potent than yours.

    I reckon I’ll be starting Monday…

  31. Omri says:

    Just sent mine in. If personnel departments in Britain have the due-diligence policies that we have in the US that means they will be calling my fraternity in Boston for a character reference. Should be interesting.

  32. Zeno says:

    Omri

    That’s great!

    I’ve been compiling a list of all the applications – would you like to send me yours so I can put it on my blog?

  33. […] actually had to come with evidence behind them. But it’s a job and Briggs needed one. So he decided to send a resume and a cover letter which opened with… Whilst I have no formal medical qualification, I believe that I am ideally […]

  34. […] actually had to come with evidence behind them. But it’s a job and Briggs needed one. So he decided to send a resume and a cover letter which opened with… Whilst I have no formal medical qualification, I believe that I am ideally […]

  35. Crocodile says:

    I found a site on how homeopathy works. The most bloody accurate thing I’ve ever seen so far. 😉

    http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

  36. Nancy Malik says:

    TRIPLE-BLIND STUDIES in support of homeopathy medicine

    Journal of Psychosomatic Research (Pergamon)

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15016577 (2004) //Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  37. Nancy Malik says:

    World’s first DBRPCT was conducted in 1835 by Johann Jacob Reuter, a homeopath physician

    http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/trial_records/19th_Century/lohner/lohner-commentary.html

    • xtaldave says:

      Awesome. Nancy, did you even read that?

      “The vast majority of those who had received the homeopathic salt dilution had thus not experienced any ‘effect’. The investigators concluded that Reuter was wrong.”

    • xtaldave says:

      So really – the world’s first DBRCT showed that Homeopathy failed. It failed then and it continues to fail to this very day.

  38. Nancy Malik says:

    scientific research in support of homeopathy medicine published in British Medical Journal

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/short/302/6772/316 (1991) http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7259/471 (2000) FULL TEXT //allergic rhinitis

    • xtaldave says:

      Nancy – please stop failing so hard – I am going to call Poe’s law on you soon and stop posting your spam.

      1991 paper concludes:

      At the moment the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions because most trials are of low methodological quality and because of the unknown role of publication bias. This indicates that there is a legitimate case for further evaluation of homoeopathy, but only by means of well performed trials.

      2000 paper – 50 patients – pilot study and not conclusive proof of anything.
      When pooled with the previous studies – the patient-measured (reliability issues?) peak flow was very slightly improved, but the more objective bronchial hyperesponsivity and number of antihistamines do not significantly change.

  39. Stu says:

    I’m sure you could also present a strong business case for improving your effectiveness and efficiency, say by reducing the time spent working from 2 sessions per week down to 5 minutes. after all, the stronger the dilution, the better the results…

  40. dr farheen says:

    I complete my D.H.M.S in 2008 and i am regesterd from NCH and i want to do more study in this field. kindly tell me wat is the procedure to apply in ur college for futher study.and i want to do rescrech in homeopathy kindly how to do? my mail i.d farheenlubna@gmail.com i really thankfull to you

  41. […] In which I apply for a job as a homeopath… Dave over at Anomalous Disaster has a great little post on him applying for a position at NHS Tayside for a homeopathic specialist. This is from the very same health board who recently brought us the sacking of 500 staff. So Dave decided to apply, which, at a cushy £68,000 salary, is definitely a job worth pursuing — after all, it can’t be that hard to dispense magic beans and provide a pseudo-scientific air of authority. Here is part of his letter of application: 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. […]

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