Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head

Should medical students be taught alternative medicine?

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2417 (Published 28 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2417

Rapid Response:

Re: Should medical students be taught alternative medicine?

I find that Sir Graeme Cato's response indicates in a very tangential manner that we should be aware of alternative medicine at medical school, as there are many treatments and therapies that are equally lacking in evidence. It also implies that we should be able to respond to patients' beliefs and expectations.

I would agree with the above, but if such a tack is taken, it should not be at the expense of far more valuable and necessary commodities for medical students, such as professionalism sessions, physiology/pharmacology or anatomy.

Patients' expectations and beliefs are changing, as are fashions, with time. The essential core of our calling is to be able to respond, but also to be able to perform our duties and apply the knowledge that is evidence based.

Any more diluting of our students' knowledge and skills with transient topics only promises to weaken the value and effectiveness of the doctor in the future.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 May 2014
Nicholas J Lelos
Medical Registrar
St Georges Hospital
Cranmer Terrace SW17 0PQ