The King has chosen a doctor who advocates for the use of homeopathic remedies to lead the medical wing of the Royal Household.
Dr Michael Dixon is a practising GP who has argued that traditional remedies can play an important role in patient care.
The Palace has confirmed that Dr Dixon leads the Royal Medical Household, the medical wing of the services which provide assistance to the monarch.
The doctor had previously served as medical adviser to the monarch when he was Prince of Wales, when King Charles’ support for the complementary use of homeopathic medicine alongside other treatments was well-documented.
Dr Dixon has long advocated for a complementary or “integrative” approach, and in 1999 wrote a paper in which he said that being seen by spiritual healers “may be an effective adjunct for the treatment of chronically ill patients presenting in general practice”.
In 2006, Dr Dixon opposed proposals for the NHS to cut funding for alternative medicines, writing against what he termed “clinical barons should not be telling those of us who have to deal with daily human suffering what to do”.
This public statement came when Dr Dixon was serving as chair of The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, a charity founded by the King which advocated for homeopathic and allopathic medicines to be used in a complementary way.
Dr Dixon’s defence of homeopathy followed a speech by the then Prince of Wales at a World Health Organization conference in Geneva, in which he praised healing practices “rooted in ancient traditions that intuitively understood the need to maintain balance and harmony with our minds, bodies and the natural world”.
If homeopathy gets results, we should use it
Dr Dixon, who has replaced Prof Sir Huw Thomas as the head of the Royal Medical Household, made a further defence of homeopathic practices being integrated into NHS treatment in 2012, saying: “The task of the NHS is to improve the health of the public and to treat those who are sick or disabled.
“We should not abandon patients we cannot help with conventional scientific medicine. If homeopathy is getting results for those patients, then of course we should continue to use it.”
The doctor chairs the College of Medicine, which grew out of the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, and which seeks to tackle illness “with every medical tool available to us without discrimination”.
Dr Dixon and the King have both been criticised for their support for homeopathy, with the UK’s first ever professor in alternative medicine Professor Edzard Ernst declaring in 2018: “You can’t have alternative medicine just because Prince Charles likes it, because that is not in the best interest of the patients.
He added: “The quality of the research is not just bad, but dismal. It ignores harms. There is a whole shelf of rubbish being sold and that is simply unethical.”
Buckingham Palace yesterday confirmed Dr Dixon’s appointment and stated that he was a practising GP, a Fellow of the Royal College of GPs, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
A statement said: “Dr. Dixon does not believe homeopathy can cure cancer. His position is that complementary therapies can sit alongside conventional treatments, provided they are safe, appropriate and evidence based.
“As Prince of Wales, The King’s position on complementary therapies, integrated health and patient choice was well documented. In his own words, ‘Nor is it about rejecting conventional medicines in favour of other treatments: the term complementary medicine means precisely what it says’.”