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The company formerly co-owned by Jeremy Hunt, the sale of which has netted the Health Secretary more than £15m, promotes dozens of courses in alternative medicine including the controversial practice of homeopathy.
The Hotcourses Group advertises courses in various forms of alternative medicine, including crystal healing, herbal medicine, reiki and spiritual healing.
The company, which Mr Hunt co-founded in 1996, lists courses on its site for free, but providers can also register with its marketplace for a fee, meaning they can sell their courses directly through the site.
Homeopathy has been publicly denounced by the Government’s Chief Medical Officer as a “waste of time and money”.
Three of the homeopathy courses listed on Hotcourses can be booked and paid for instantly, including a £330 Homeopathy Diploma Course from the Hypnotherapy Centre of Excellence.
One course listed, costing £2,500 and aimed at those with “enthusiasm and some medical and homeopathic knowledge” is the Vithoulkas Classical Homeopathy Practitioner Diploma, a Greek-based company running courses from the private Regent’s University in London.
Also listed is an online course in homeopathy for beginners, costing £289.99, run by Stonebridge Associated Colleges, which is given a “trusted provider” rating by Hotcourses.
Mr Hunt first publicly indicated support for homeopathy in 2007 – before he became Health Secretary – when he signed an early day motion welcoming the availability of homeopathy on the NHS in 2007 and calling on the then-Labour government to support homeopathic hospitals.
Mr Hunt then asked the government’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies to commission expert reviews of three homeopathic studies which medics had dismissed.
But the CMO found there was no evidence from the studies that the treatment was effective, and publicly denounced homeopathy as “a waste of time and money”.
Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of “like cures like” – a belief that a small dose of what causes disease in a healthy person will cure a sick person.
In 2014, Mr Hunt told The Independent he was “not a supporter of homeopathy” in spite of his backing the early day motion, but that he believed in a rigorous examination of the science behind all treatments.
The World Health Organisation has advised against the use of homeopathy to treat serious illnesses and numerous medical bodies and professionals have derided it as “quackery” and a “sham”.
Hotcourses, which is used by millions of prospective students each year, lists courses in more conventional areas of healthcare as well as career guides.
While the Government has angered many GPs this week by suggesting surgeries should open seven days a week, Hotcourses advises: “Full-time work for GPs is defined as 37.5 hours a week. This can include evening and weekend work. Many GPs will do some emergency on-call work, although the use of deputising services is becoming widespread.”
Mr Hunt was accused of keeping a low profile last week after the Red Cross said the strain the NHS is currently under amounted to a “humanitarian crisis”.
The Health Secretary denied this was the case and said that only “one or two” hospitals were experiencing serious difficulties.
Jeremy Hunt says only ‘one or two hospitals’ are in trouble despite claims of a humanitarian crisis
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took to Twitter to attack Mr Hunt’s record on the NHS, saying: “@Jeremy_Hunt you have failed our NHS & our country. Your own local hospital has declared a state of emergency. Stop dithering & take action.”
Source: The Independent
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