It appears that the NHS is now embracing 'alternative' medicine, although 'bizarre', 'ill-conceived' and 'counter-productive' would be more apt if my experience today be representative. The GP phoned and left a message reporting results of recent routine physical with practice nurse. Systolic BP up. Nothing to worry about. Quite normal in middle-aged gentlefolk of sedentary habits and gross epicurean tendencies. However, I should consider exorcising more.
Not the advice I would have given in far off days when still practicing medicine; but times move on. Old habits have to be purged. One has to accept, if only on a provisional basis, the new ideas and theories. Give them a chance, and so on.
To domestic staff were therefore relayed instructions concise and specific. And upon my return home the ritual robes and other exorcismal paraphernalia- the battered missal, smouldering incence burner, holy water in ancient thracian crystal phial, selection of crucifixes in a variety of materials and sizes, the matyr-teeth rosary beads, fragments of sacred wafer, and so on- were found displayed in the dressing room ready for my immediate use; everything, I was pleased to see, that one might need for an exorcism.
Well not quite everything. It was after I had donned the robes, and brought the ancient thracian phial to the pursed lips in a text-book gesture of veneration, that the absence of any nearby consenting possessee interrupted my devout thoughts and immediate intentions. Bloody doctors. And there, in a nutshell, is the 'problem' with alternative medecine. There is simply not the infrastructure to support it. Had I been advised by gormless GP to conduct a double-blind clinical trial to take my mind off the pressures of life and thus provide a calmer mental equilibrium condusive of lowering BP, then a path would have beckoned trodden smooth straight and broad by $multi-billion pharmaceutical industry. Established database of volunteers. Ready supply of authentic placebo treatments. Vast international network of fellow professionals to peer review outcome of work, etc etc. But where the equivalent support infrastructure for the exorcist? Where the accepted ethical protocols? Where the established table of rates for the reimbursement of volunteer possessee travelling expenses? And so on and so on. What utter half-baked nonsense the whole scheme. Absolute madness from start to finish. No wonder NHS running out of money. I will have strong censorious things to say about this, you mark my words. In the shoes of the Secretary of State for Health I would not want to be when the next scorching post hits the blog.It makes my blood boil. So much much for lowering the systolic BP.