Smallwood Report

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The Smallwood Report, officially entitled The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the NHS: An Investigation into the Potential Contribution of Mainstream Alternative Therapies to Healthcare in the UK, was a 2005 report promoting the use of so-called "alternative medicine" in Britain's taxpayer funded National Health Service, as a cost-effective and efficate alternative to evidence-based medicine. The report was written by economist Christopher Smallwood, commissioned by HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and funded by disgraced Tory politician Dame Shirley Porter.[1] The report recommended that a number of treatments be made available on the NHS, including acupuncture, homoeopathy, manipulation therapies and herbal remedies. Graeme Catto wrote the introduction. Smallwood is an economist with no background in healthcare.


The report was criticized by leading alternative medicine expert Edzard Ernst,[2] pointing out that it was inaccurate, grossly misleading and pointing out that "its conclusions were written before the authors had searched for evidence that might match them". The editor of The Lancet Richard Horton pointed out that the report contained dangerous nonsense.[3]

As a consequence of Ernsts' response, Charles's secretary Sir Michael Peat pushed Exeter University into investigating Ernst for misconduct. Ernst was eventually exonerated, but his department was disbanded due to lack of funding and he was forced to take early retirement. The role of Prince Charles has been scrutinized as a result of the affair.[4]


  1. ^ "A tribute to Prince Charles, champion of anti-science, on his 65th birthday". Edzard Ernst.
  2. ^ Ernst, E (2006). "The 'Smallwood report': method or madness?". Br J Gen Pract. 56: 64–5. PMC 1821425. PMID 16438825.
  3. ^ "Letters: Rational medicine is being undermined". the Guardian.
  4. ^ "The Quacktitioner Royal is a threat to constitutional government and to the health of the nation".

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