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Research Article

Alternative allergy and the General Medical Council.

BMJ 1993; 306 doi: (Published 09 January 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;306:122
  1. A B Kay
  1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, National Heart and Lung Institute, London.


    In July 1992 Dr Keith Mumby, a clinical ecologist, appeared before the professional conduct committee of the General Medical Council on five charges to do with his practice of clinical ecology. He was found guilty of two of the charges--touting for publicity and failing to give a patient adequate medical attention--and admonished. The GMC failed, however, to address the issue of the nature of Mumby's treatments--clinical ecology itself. This is based on the idea that some patients are unusually susceptible to their environment, the diagnosis and treatment are based on an unstandardised provocation-neutralisation test. A variety of medical bodies have failed to find scientific foundation for the technique. The GMC's policy on advertising services to patients is inconsistent, and in this case it has shown a regrettable reluctance to deal with the issue of treatments that are not scientifically validated.