It's terminal for integrated medicine diploma

April 15, 2010

The University of Buckingham is to withdraw accreditation from a postgraduate diploma in integrated medicine less than a year after it was validated by the institution.

The U-turn comes after concerns were raised about the "pseudo-science" content of the course in light of a campaign led by David Colquhoun, professor of pharmacology at University College London, an outspoken critic of university courses in complementary and alternative medicine.

Buckingham, the UK's only private university, announced last July that it was validating the two-year diploma course, run by the Bath-based charity the Integrated Health Trust (IHT). The university was involved in developing the diploma.

Terence Kealey, Buckingham's vice-chancellor, insisted at the time that it was not endorsing integrated medicine - which combines conventional and alternative medical treatments - but supporting the "scientifically objective" study of it.

But after concerns were raised by Professor Colquhoun, it appears to have had a change of heart.

Professor Colquhoun has posted on his website an email from Andrew Miles, associate dean of medicine at Buckingham, who is in charge of the university's involvement in the diploma, to Rosy Daniel, course leader at the IHT.

He says in the memo dating from January: "The nature of integrated medicine, with its foundational philosophy so vigorously opposed by mainstream medicine ... can only bring the university difficulties as we seek to establish a formal and internationally recognised School of Medicine and School of Nursing."

In a statement, the university declines to say why it has changed its mind, but confirms it will "terminate its association" with the IHT from September 2011, following the completion of the diploma by the first cohort of students.

The university stresses that it will maintain its "duty of care" to the students until they graduate in February 2012.

Professor Miles told Times Higher Education that the course had been a "trial venture".

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