Help us protect people with autism from harmful homeopathic ‘cures’

by Good Thinking

Help us protect people with autism from harmful homeopathic ‘cures’

by Good Thinking
Good Thinking
Case Owner
Good Thinking is a charity which stands up for science. We are challenging the Society of Homeopaths' PSA reaccreditation to keep autistic children safe from homeopaths who offer harmful CEASE therapy
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Good Thinking
Case Owner
Good Thinking is a charity which stands up for science. We are challenging the Society of Homeopaths' PSA reaccreditation to keep autistic children safe from homeopaths who offer harmful CEASE therapy
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Oct. 4, 2019

We've been granted permission by the High Court

Our Judicial Review over PSA reaccreditation of Society of Homeopaths granted permission by High Court. Mr Justice Freedman has granted permission for Our Judicial Review claim to be heard in full....

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What are we doing and why?

Good Thinking is a registered charity which stands up for science. We are challenging the Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) decision to accredit the Society of Homeopaths as part of its accredited registers programme. 

The PSA decided to grant the accreditation even though some Society of Homeopaths members offer CEASE therapy which is an unscientific and potentially dangerous treatment for autism that is targeted at autistic children. Please contribute to our legal challenge and share this page with your friends, family and on social media.


What is CEASE therapy?

CEASE therapists claim they can cure autism, based on the false belief that autism is caused by vaccines and that the symptoms of autism can be cured with homeopathic treatments, dangerously-high-dosage Vitamin C, and dietary restriction. Many CEASE therapists are aligned with the extremely dangerous anti-vaccination movement which is gaining traction in the UK. 

The “CEASE” part of “CEASE therapy” stands for “Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression”. This unscientific “cure” has been criticised by doctors, other medical and health professionals, autistic people, their families and autistic rights campaigners. The National Autistic Society have described CEASE therapy as “absolutely appalling”.


Background

The PSA grants accreditation to some membership organisations which represent providers of healthcare, such as organisations representing sports therapists and psychotherapists. Choosing a therapist which belongs to an organisation that is accredited by the PSA is encouraged: the PSA says its accreditation programme is here to “protect the public and help ensure their health and wellbeing”.

Following some recent negative publicity about CEASE therapy, the PSA “urged” the public only to choose practitioners from an accredited register, such as the Society of Homeopaths. However, this is not safe advice since the Society of Homeopaths includes some practitioners of CEASE therapy.

The PSA has acknowledged that CEASE therapy is potentially harmful and conflicts with the advice of the NHS in several respects. However, despite recognising this risk of harm, and the fact that some members of the Society of Homeopaths offer CEASE therapy, the PSA decided to continue allowing the Society of Homeopaths to be part of their accredited register scheme. 

By being part of the PSA’s accredited register scheme, the Society of Homeopaths and its members – including those who practice CEASE therapy - can point to the PSA’s logo on their websites and marketing materials as a sign that they are competent, trustworthy and safe. But that badge, and the credibility and legitimacy it confers, only carries any meaning if the PSA takes seriously their duty to protect the public from harmful practices.

By accrediting the Society of Homeopaths, the PSA have failed in their duty to protect the public and not only that - they have failed to take into account how their decision adversely affects the interests of autistic people, as is required by the Equality Act 2010.

If Good Thinking’s Judicial Review is successful the PSA will likely be required to revisit their decision to accredit the Society of Homeopaths, this time paying proper regard to the need to protect the public and in particular autistic children who are the main targets for CEASE therapy.

By backing our CrowdJustice campaign, you can help us ensure that the credibility of PSA accreditation is not lent to therapists who claim to cure autism, or discourage parents from vaccinating their children. 


How much do we need to raise?

Our solicitors have already sent a detailed pre-action letter to the PSA to explain why we believe their decision to reaccredit the SoH was unlawful. In responding the PSA have signalled their intention to stand by their decision, so our next step is to file a Judicial Review which we need to do by Friday 28th June.

Judicial review is an expensive court action and we estimate that we will need in the region of £35,000 (plus VAT) to get to the stage of getting permission to go to a full hearing, at which point further funds would need to be raised to see the claim through to a trial.

Update 5

Good Thinking

Oct. 4, 2019

We've been granted permission by the High Court

Our Judicial Review over PSA reaccreditation of Society of Homeopaths granted permission by High Court. Mr Justice Freedman has granted permission for Our Judicial Review claim to be heard in full.  

We've posted further details and reactions on our website, here:

https://goodthinkingsociety.org/judicial-review-over-psa-reaccreditation-of-society-of-homeopaths-granted-permission-by-high-court/ 


Plus this development has been covered in the Times and the Guardian today:

Update 4

Good Thinking

Aug. 13, 2019

The PSA are defending their decision, so our case now goes to a judge

We’d like to update our supporters with the latest progress in our case: We have now received the PSA’s summary response to our claim, and it is perhaps not a surprise to hear that they intend to continue defending their decision to accredit the Society of Homeopaths, even as registered homeopaths continue to practice CEASE therapy.

The PSA has said that they have a very limited role in accrediting organisations such as the Society – which is focused on governance and administration. We have responded to reiterate that when deciding whether to accredit the PSA is obliged to consider whether organisations such as the Society include individuals who offer harmful and discriminatory therapies, such as CEASE therapy. This is extremely important because PSA accreditation provides a stamp of respectability and endorsement which – in the PSA’s own words – enables the public to “avoid bad apples”. In fact, the PSA’s stamp of approval is likely to be directing more desperate parents towards CEASE therapy which is precisely the opposite of what should be happening.

The next stage is that a judge will look at both of our arguments, and will decide whether a Judicial Review on this matter is “arguable”. If so, the PSA will provide a detailed response to our claim, which we can respond to, and then we will receive a court date.

We are hoping for more news in September.

Update 3

Good Thinking

Aug. 7, 2019

A huge thank you to Mark Ainsworth for his significant offline donation

We'd like to say a huge thank you to Mark Ainsworth in St Albans for his £700 donation to our Judicial Review fund (in relation to homeopaths claiming to ‘cure’ autism in children). 

The donation does not show on our Crowd Justice page, as Mark made the donation direct to Good Thinking. But you can imagine the pot with an extra £700 on top, thanks to Mark!

Update 2

Good Thinking

July 9, 2019

Thank you to MSSX attendees for your generosity!

We'd like to say a big thanks to everyone who attended MSSX, the 10th birthday party of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, for helping to raise £260 for our campaign!

Update 1

Good Thinking

July 3, 2019

An update from our supporters, as we approach £5,000 raised!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to our legal fees so far, and to everyone who has shared information about our case. Some of our expert supporters would like to share with you why they believe this case is so important:

Emma Dalmayne, autism right campaigner: “We as autistic people, are bombarded with the discriminatory rhetoric that we are in need of a cure. CEASE is not a cure for our neurological difference, and it is proven to be extremely harmful. The PSA should not endorse the Society of Homeopaths while their members offer this harmful therapy. The Society of Homeopaths are at present allowing their members to mislead the public, which in turn puts vulnerable autistic children in harm’s way.”

Professor Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine: "The assumptions of CEASE therapy fly in the face of science. There is also no clinical evidence that CEASE therapy is effective in curing autism or alleviating its symptoms. By misleading desperate individuals that CEASE therapy works, homeopaths can do untold harm."

Please continue to share details of our case with your friends and on social media.

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