Unhappy with her GP’s suggestion of more, potentially addictive, medication to help ease her dependency, Chris followed a diet and vitamin regime prescribed by holistic doctor Patrick Holford to wean herself off the tablets. [Back-Up URL version in case the Daily Mail alters the text.]
As readers will probably know, Holford is not a doctor, not even a holistic one. But, to be fair, the Daily Mail’s conferment of a medical degree has about as much standing as his own honorary qualification in nutrition awarded to him by the institution he founded. (What a thrilling and unexpected tribute that must have been.)
Patrick Holford registered for an MPhil at Surrey, but failed to meet the criteria for an MPhil so did not manage to progress to a PhD. He has no accredited degree-level qualification in nutrition, never mind medicine (although he did manage a 2.2 in Psychology). All these details and more are on this blog – easily accessible to anyone with Google – but the Daily Mail still manages to get this wrong.
We would also note that – when dealing with addiction – Holford’s tendency to focus on diet and pills is unhelpfully reductive: for example, what about the social issues involved? Using the Daily Mail’s terms, Patrick Holford should thus be viewed as a non-holistic non-doctor. On the plus-side, though, the Daily Mail did spell Holford’s name correctly.
A final thing to note is that – as the Daily Mail article makes very clear – addiction to painkillers can be serious, even fatal. It is therefore extremely important to consider which treatments are effective, and which are not. Accuracy is vital, which makes the Daily Mail’s reporting of this especially disappointing. This probably wasn’t the case, but from their copy, it looks as if ‘Chris’ might have self-managed her own recovery. The Daily Mail needs to stress that it is essential that people with such addictions should consult their GPs. E.g., anybody who has been taking a combined product, say with ibuprofen, may well have eroded the stomach lining and have other problems that need evaluation and careful management – this is not something that should be done without appropriate supervision. It should also be remembered that there are addictions where the substances may have damaged the kidneys, liver or other organs and it may be very unwise for people to experiment with vitamin or mineral supplements under those circumstances.
We have posted a comment on the article, on the Daily Mail’s site: pointing out that their attribution of a medical qualification and title to Patrick Holford is mistaken. Hopefully, they will correct it promptly.
After their recent pock-marked performance, one has to question whether the Daily Mail has any reasonable quality control checking in place or if they are careless about the information that they give to their readers.
Daily Mail has yet to correct the story and it has not let through any of the comments that correct Patrick Holford’s status. More amusingly however, Holford has the story in a self-laudatory fashion and has also neglected to correct that part of the article.
We have just had an e-mail from Holford’s PR and Marketing Manager: she contacted the Mail this morning to try to correct their error. We are pleased to see such a prompt correction, but wish that Holford would see fit to correct more significant errors on topics such as Wakefield.