Saturday, June 2, 2007

Michael Moore Applauds French Medical Hegemony

By Emma Holister, France

A recent interview with Michael Moore, 'Sicko' spawns Moore fever in Cannes, by Jill Lawless, concludes, after lavishly praising the Cuban, British and French healthcare systems:

"Are there flaws in those systems? Absolutely. But those are flaws for the people in those countries to correct, not me." And with that, he disappeared into another cheering crowd.

Speaking as an ex-patient who has lived many years in France, I'd like to know how 'we' are supposed to correct the fact that our system of government-controlled universal healthcare has effectively outlawed naturopathy by making it illegal for anyone other than a vaccination-chemo-ARV-pushing allopathic doctor to practise 'natural therapies'. I'd like to know how we are supposed to correct the fact that you can go to jail for not 'immunising' your children with poisonous vaccines, and how we are supposed to recover the right to self treat with herbal remedies from our back gardens when it has been made an offence under the laws forbidding the 'illegal practice of medicine'. I'd like to know how we are supposed to stop the medical authorities from harassing the true naturopathic practitioners, such as yoga instructors, closing down their workshops, accusing them of being 'gurus of dangerous sects'.

Moore's film is clearly praise for the drug industry masquerading as criticism. It is the total annihilation of true alternative medicine that he is supporting with his campaign to promote universal healthcare. The real face of universal healthcare in France is far less about helping poor people gain access to 'life-saving medical treatment', and far more about forcing mandatory toxic treatments upon all people and preventing them from using natural means and true disease prevention to look after their own health.

Wagging an admonishing finger at right-wing corporatism and applauding government-controlled (aka 'socialised') healthcare systems certainly hits a popular note these days; we're all tired of fascism and injustice. However by playing into the totally mainstream political paradigm of Left versus Right, Democrat versus Republican politics, Moore is doing nothing revolutionary or anti-establishment, certainly nothing even remotely anti-medical industry.

Oh, that ever-burning question 'Who is going to take care of the poor?'. Well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We know that right-wing governments certainly aren't going to, but does this automatically mean that left-wing governments or systems of 'socialised' healthcare do? Are human rights and the individual's health truly more protected and respected by the Government in a left-wing-style or, further still, in a Communist health regime?

Ultimately the question is 'Will the beast of corporate fascism be beaten by universal healthcare?' The British National Health Service is proof of the contrary, as is the 'saintly' French healthcare set-up, both systems slavishly devoted to the pharmaceutical-medical-industrial complex. Whether in France or in the UK, a visit to the doctor is most likely to mean sitting long hours in a waiting room. On arrival at his desk, the patient is greeted with a rushed interview, discouraged from expressing an opinion, is told peremptorily what they need, which is more often than not a prescription for pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals that produce vicious side effects that have the patient running back to the doctor for help, when once again more pharmaceuticals will be prescribed, with the added bonus, if the doctor is so inclined, of being put on a waiting list for surgery. So the medical industry under universal healthcare is well fed; in fact, like Moore, it is veritably obese.

One could argue that the French and British healthcare systems, although both of them have embraced universal healthcare over the last few decades, are so different as to be diametrically opposed, given the still relatively liberal approach in the UK where true alternative medicine has not yet been banished and rendered illegal, as opposed to the draconian regime in France. It is still possible in England to run away from the government-run healthcare system and take refuge in alternative therapies, which is indeed what a vast sector of the population does, finding it preferable to pay for natural healthcare out of their own pockets rather than be subjected to the medical-industry robots in the UK government's medical programme.

These differences between the universal healthcare in France and the UK only create confusion when one tries to initiate discussions between Europeans and Americans. While certain Americans' hair stands on end at the spectre of 'socialised medicine' in the UK, quail as they do at the sight of a country gone to the 'Commie Dawwgs', many English people scratch their heads and express confusion over the fact that if the UK were a 'Commie country', how is it that we've always lived in an overtly capitalist society with many years of right-wing corporate-hungry governments, not to mention left-wing corporate-hungry governments? Furthermore, the average English or French person may wonder what on earth is so superior about the American healthcare system for them to be getting into such a state about ours. So one can understand how the many Americans who express a horror of 'socialised medicine', a term coined by the American Medical Association, formerly opposed, now pro, do not succeed in convincing the French and English that our system is inherently evil. It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

However, to assume therefore that socialised medicine or universal healthcare must be 'good' is a trap many fall into. In the UK it is difficult to imagine that we may lose our right to flee from the government-run pharmaceutical-medical-industry-oriented system into the reassuring arms of our alternative medicine practitioners who get by well enough despite being outside the mainstream medical structure. We cannot imagine losing that right. We hope, expect, that some future government will welcome alternative medicine into its programme.

And there lies the trap that awaits us. The trap is the fact that we trust that some government will genuinely care about the individual's health above big industry concerns. Hands up who really trusts politicians to put individual health rights above the dictates of big industry. The trap that has been laid out before us is across the Channel. It is France's healthcare regime where alternative medicine has apparently been integrated into the mainstream medical paradigm with acupuncture and homeopathy being offered by some mainstream doctors. Do not be fooled. What exists in France is the prostitution of the complementary and integrative medicine camp to the allopathic mainstream medical industry and the result is the prohibition of true alternative medicine.

The French social security system, like the UK's NHS, has long been poisoning and mutilating the population 'for free' (or rather not so free as it comes heavily from our taxes). In the UK, if you're lucky, the prospect of a huge waiting list for mainstream treatment may force you to revert to natural self treatment and alternative therapies. However, in France that is illegal.

France is the pioneer in this hybridisation of 'naturopathy', complementary/integrative medicine and mainstream medical practice. And it has long been the case that alternative medicine is dead in France, one of the most over-medicated countries in the world. It is a country of medical victims.

In this complementary/allopathic marriage and Utopia of universal healthcare, 'disease prevention' is sucked up and reinvented by the dominant medical industry, supported lovingly by its complementary/integrative disciple. Prevention is no longer really about improving diet and lifestyle but more about mandatory vaccinations, blood tests, electronic patient-tracking systems and x-ray cancer screenings to feed the chemo industry.

Furthermore, as the CAM/allopathic system pushes ever more towards 'evidence-based' and industry-friendly 'complementary' medicine, the tiny amount of alternative medicine practices that have been integrated into the system do not remain reimbursed/'free' for long, as in the case of the recent severing of homeopathy by the French system. So integration into the system means nothing more than tighter restrictions on alternative medicine followed by cuts that force you to pay anyway for what little is left on offer.

To get back to the question of the 'poor poor', how can anyone be helped by a healthcare system that inflicts abusive medical practices upon them against their will? How can 'the poor', or anyone, be happy when basic human rights are flushed down the toilet as government-controlled mandatory medication of the population becomes the norm?

One of the only journalists who is clearly and consistently exposing the betrayal of true grassroots alternative medicine by the influential armies of complementary/integrative medicine marching in step with the mainstream allopathic Medical Industry is Peter Chowka.

The following is a selection of his articles from his website http://chowka.com

Peter Barry Chowka is an investigative journalist and medical-political analyst who specializes in reporting on alternative and innovative therapies and the politics of health care. Since the 1970s, he has broken a number of important stories, including the federal government's cover-up of its own promising research on diet and cancer, the Hoxsey herbal cancer therapy, and the suppression of Dr. Linus Pauling's research on vitamin C and health. In April 1994 Peter did the last interview with Dr. Pauling before the two-time Nobel prize winner died at age 93 four months later.

Peter's work has been published widely, both in print and, over the past decade, on the Internet. He has appeared in major documentary films, has written for television, and has been a guest on several hundred radio and TV talk shows, most recently the nationally syndicated Coast to Coast AM on April 24, 2007. Between 1992-'94, Peter was an advisor to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine.

Recently, Peter has been investigating the push for "universal health care" which he sees as the most serious threat to Americans' freedom, autonomy, and choice in medicine since the country was founded.

His Web site is http://chowka.com


Universal Health Care Marches On And Other Outrages

(June 1, 2007) It continues to be popular in many CAM (complementary alternative medicine) circles to focus on issues (or non-issues) like the FDA's CAM Guidance document or this or that piece of proposed Congressional legislation that might at some future time negatively impact the public's ability to access nutritional supplements. In this writer's opinion, this kind of preoccupation is equivalent to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while the ship is bearing down on the fatal iceberg.

The “iceberg” looming ahead for proponents of CAM and alternative medicine, as well as for every American who believes in freedom of medical choice, is universal (government-controlled) health care. And surveying the political landscape, seventeen months before the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections, it looks like it will take a miracle to stop its final advance.

“Universal health care” is a clever, Orwellian attempt at Newspeak – giving a palatable or neutral name to government-run (or completely socialized) conventional medicine and shoving it down the throats of the American people. Clearly, the spin has been largely successful. Continue reading . . .

Tempests in a Teapot Brew and Subside, and Other Real and Accurate Alternative Medical News

(May 15, 2007) As I reported on May 1, a classic tempest in a teapot was brewing all spring as a number of self-styled “health freedom” groups and individuals attempted to foment a massive Internet-driven e-uprising to challenge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) supposed intention to regulate complementary alternative medicine (CAM). Continue reading . . .

New Controversies Challenge the Health Freedom Movement - Health Freedom Rights and Universal Health Care Make It to National Talk Radio

(May 1, 2007, last updated 5/2/7 09:04 GMT) In recent weeks, few Internet users have not been subjected to a large number of “sky is falling” e-mails, emanating from a variety of groups, calling attention to alleged imminent threats to Americans' continued access to nutritional supplements and other CAM (complementary alternative medicine) modalities at the hands of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and, more recently, the Congress in the form of a U.S. Senate FDA reform bill, S. 1082 (see end of this article for an update on S. 1082). A number of blogs have now taken up the cause, this one at Daily Kos being an example.

The ball got rolling in this area on April 5, when something called the Natural Solutions Foundation (NSF) began sending out hyperbolic-sounding mass e-mails on a sensational new subject. Continue reading . . .

Government Begins to Enforce Conventional (Allopathic) Medicine Mandates on Americans

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. – Minority Report: H. L. Mencken's Notebooks (1956) p. 247

(April 15, 2007) The concept of “universal health care,” reportedly so popular with the American electorate now, may at first glance sound appealing. We are told that under a “single payer” (government-run) system, one can just sit back, theoretically at least, and stop worrying as cradle to grave health care will be made available to everyone on an equal basis – the best that American medicine has to offer, infinitely more affordable, possibly even free, to masses of people who are currently losing sleep over the possibility of going bankrupt under the problematic status quo health care delivery system (a mix of the free market and big government programs like Medicaid and Medicare) or who have no health insurance at all.

As usual, however, there are prices to be paid for such a Faustian bargain, with the uncontrolled financial costs and other downsides rarely if ever made apparent, or admitted, at the onset of a new government program.

Among the indirect costs are the emerging plans to set up huge new government databases (tapping into and mining private commercial databases) and large new bureaucracies to “track down” and enforce compliance on residents who fail to buy approved medical coverage. Continue reading . . .

April Fool’s Alt Med News Updates

(April 1, 2007) I wish these developments were April Fool’s jokes, but unfortunately each one is all too true.

As I have been documenting in recent articles, the advance toward “universal health care” (socialized medicine) in the United States is continuing, with ever greater momentum in the political and media spheres. In fact, it is impossible for one person, no matter how much time he has on his hands and Internet access and searching skills he has at his disposal, to keep up with it all.

Each day, there are scores if not hundreds of new articles, Op-Ed opinion pieces, white papers, public opinion polls, scientific journal articles, blog entries, political speeches, proposed laws, and more – all advancing the idea that conventional allopathic health care is a “right” which must be guaranteed to and forced on all U.S. residents by the government. Continue reading . . .

The Mandatory HPV Vaccine: Where O Where is the Alt Med Community?

(March 15, 2007) In the wake of surprisingly widespread and vocal public opposition to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s order on February 2nd that all girls who attend school in his state must receive the new vaccination for HPV (the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus) when they enter the sixth grade – a series of three shots that can cost a total of $360 or more and have, according to some critics, unknown health and medical impacts – the Texas House voted 119-21 on March 13th to support a bill by a Republican legislator that says the vaccine cannot be a condition for school entry. The corrective legislation will go next to the Texas Senate, which is expected to pass it, and then to the governor, who may veto it.

The nationwide momentum on the part of conventional physicians, drug industry lobbyists, and politicians to mandate the vaccine, called Gardasil and manufactured by Merck, for girls ages 10-12 has not slowed, however. On March 1st, Virginia's Democrat Gov. Tim Kaine announced that he would sign a bill that will require sixth grade girls to receive the HPV vaccine beginning Oct. 1, 2008. An indication of mainstream media spin is the Washington Post's editorial “A Shot of Common Sense” (March 9th), which says that Kaine's decision “brought some much-needed sense” to the “increasingly irrational national debate” about mandating HPV vaccines. Continue reading . . .


Alternative Medicine


(January 1, 2007) In this space early in 2005, I asked the question “Is Alternative Medicine Dead?” My analysis then was somewhat equivocal. As the New Year 2007 dawns, however, the answer, in my opinion, would have to be an unqualified “yes.”

Throughout the past year the signs of alternative medicine's demise were increasingly unmistakable, although, for most interested observers, they were probably well below or completely off the radar screen of awareness. That's because the non-threatening, watered down hybrids, called “CAM” (complementary alternative medicine) or “integrative medicine,” that have virtually replaced primary alternative medicine are now entrenched and well accepted – providing people who are inclined to, or profiting from, natural healing with a false sense of reassurance.

A sign of this phenomenon might be my experience in walking through a large Macy's department store at the fashionable Fashion Valley mall in San Diego last month. Plastered on a floor to ceiling advertising kiosk in the cosmetics department was a larger than life black and white photo of “the foremost authority on integrative health,” Andrew Weil, M.D., selling skin beauty creams. Clearly, CAM (or “integrative health”) has arrived. Continue reading . . .

RELATED ARTICLES BY OTHER WRITERS

The French Prohibition on Words Related to Healing By Emma Holister, France

A Veritable Dictatorship By Sylvie Simon, France

No Freedom, Thankyou, We're French! by Jacques Valentin, France

The French Prohibition on Words Related to Healing

By Emma Holister

Author's note: Since this article was first published in 2004 the situation in France has changed, with a certain amount of progress being made thanks to the creation of various associations for the promotion of holistic massage. However, only time will tell as to whether or not these associations will continue to be a protective force, in view of the pressures on most associations to conform to escalating regulatory measures imposed by government and industry.

October 9, 2004

On reading the book "Healing, an Illegal Practice" by Sylvie Simon we not only discover the truth about the brutal repression of alternative medicine in France but that the very title of her book itself is causing a scandal.

Those in Alternative Medicine in France are faced with the confusing task of having to dance around in a baffling battle of semantics in order to be able to use most natural, traditional, effective remedies. Simon's title is aptly chosen.

In France, merely using certain words pertaining to health matters is against the law(L4161-1). Any therapist claiming the 'therapeutic' or 'medicinal' properties of a natural treatment risks being denounced and dragged before the law courts for 'Illegal Practice of Medicine'. Worse still, they risk being denounced as gurus of dangerous sects. The repression is often both medical and religious in nature.

Practitioners of alternative medicine as well as patients and parents choosing alternative means to treat their children, are pursued, harassed, criminalized and even imprisoned at the whim of the pharmaceutically dominated medical authorities. There have been cases of parents losing custody over their children for child neglect for not complying with the laws on compulsory vaccination of children against diphtheria, tetanus, polio and tuberculosis. Most of which are no longer a threat, thus rendering the vaccinations redundant anyway. A school has the right to refuse access to a child who has not been injected with these dubious and frequently toxic chemicals, products that are harmful to the child's health and immune system.

The 'Inquisitors', as Simon calls them, do their utmost to stamp out the population's desire for alternative medicine. The general practitioners who prescribe pharmaceutical products daily may occasionally flaunt an acupuncture needle around as a token gesture to the French medical practice having 'successfully integrated' alternative medicine into its program. However, do not be fooled. By law, no one other than a doctor from the mainstream pharmaceutically oriented schools of medicine is allowed to prescribe, diagnose symptoms, or claim medicinal, therapeutic or healing benefits, for anything other than what is officially permitted by the medical authorities and therefore the pharmaceutical industry.

It is against the law for anyone other than a mainstream doctor to practise acupuncture and homeopathy. A contradiction? The truth of the matter is that the only way to officially see an alternative medicine practitioner is to go to your mainstream doctor, who naturally, more often than not, will prescribe you more antibiotics, synthetic hormones, anti-depressants, whilst claiming that acupuncture and homeopathy are 'very good' but are 'slower and less effective' than allopathic drugs. It is difficult to get through several years of medical school without having been won over by these views. Alternative medicine in France has been hijacked.

What is the result of this on the French language? Some therapists in alternative 'medicine' (don't say that word) have accepted the bitter pill of censorship and optimistically claim to have no problem with this legal obstacle. They argue that it is simply a question of abandoning all vocabulary pertaining to health in order to practise natural 'therapies' (be careful with that word) 'freely' (and that one).

What is more worrying is that the general feeling of aversion towards doctors that is now occurring in this over-prescribed country has lead to a predictable prejudice against sensitive words such as 'doctor', 'medical', 'cure'. Sylvie Simon has even been criticised for having used the words 'Healing' and 'Illegal' in her book, pointing out that alternative 'medicine' (don't say that word), does not 'cure' because the patient 'cures' himself, that alternative 'medicine' (or alternative whatsit) is not illegal as long as we don't use the vocabulary of doctors, because natural therapies have nothing to do with 'medicine', 'doctors' and 'cures', these now being dirty words that the pharmaceutical industry are welcome to keep, we don't want them anyway.

Well, let's see, what does that leave us with in terms of vocabulary?

When the massage therapist Savatofski was pursued by the medical authorities for using the word 'massage' (permission to use this word is only granted to the official 'kinésithérapeutes') the problem was aptly overcome by changing the word 'massage' to 'touching', which so far, is not against the law. So whilst the alternative medicine practitioners jump for joy for having found a way to continue practising their healing art without more ado, the clients may find themselves in the strange position of having to say 'I'm going to get touched' instead of 'I'm going to have a massage'.

What has the good old-fashioned health-promoting massage been reduced to? Getting touched in a non-therapeutic manner? That does indeed sound vaguely illegal.

What does a Chinese Doctor become? A Chinese Thingy? What does Oriental Medicine become? Oriental Stuff? What does Oriental Diagnosis become? Oriental What-ja-ma-call-it?

France may be the only country in the world to have an official government committee which studies all the new words occurring in French culture and which determines which of those words will be officially allowed or disallowed.

So before anyone could confiscate my old dictionary with its old fashioned terms, I got it out sneakily and discovered that nowhere is it stated that these 'medical' words are the exclusive property of the pharmaceutically oriented modern medical world. In fact, looking at my dictionary of word origins, I discovered that these words all have ancient origins in Greek and Sanskrit that trace the entire history of humanity. So in reality these terms, historically speaking, describe what has now ironically come to be known as 'Alternative Medicine'.

Seeing as our predecessors in all world cultures have always used these words, having always had the right to diagnose disease and prescribe healing remedies, it is difficult to understand why we must suddenly change and only allow the pharmaceutically oriented doctors to use them. Particularly in view of the fact that modern medicine is the leading cause of death in the world, and that is not even taking into account of the deaths caused by this same industry's commerce in pesticides and chemical warfare.

References:

Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto
Publishers: Bloomsbury Reference

Diagnosis:

The underlying meaning of Greek diagnosis was 'knowing apart'. It was derived from diagignoskein 'distinguish, discern,' a compound verb formed from the prefix dia- 'apart' and gignoskein 'know, perceive' (a relative of English 'know'). In post-classical times the general notion of 'distinguishing' or 'discerning' was applied specifically to medical examination in order to determine the nature of a disease.


Know:

The words for 'know' in the various Indo-European languages mostly belong to one large many-branched family which goes back ultimately to the base gn-, which also produced English can and ken. Its Latin offspring was noscere, from which English gets cognition, incognito, note, quaint, etc. From its Greek branch come English agnostic and diagnosis. And in other Indo-European languages it is represented by, among others, Sanskrit janati 'know'. Old Irish gnath 'known', and Russian znat. In the other Germanic languages it is the immediate relatives of English can (German and Dutch kennen, Swedish kanna, Danish kende) that are used for 'know': know itself, which was originally a reduplicated form, survives only in English.

The -ledge of knowledge was probably originally the suffix -lock 'action, process,' which otherwise survives only in wedlock. Acknowledge is derived from knowledge.

- agnostic, can, cognition, diagnosis, incognito, ken, knowledge note, quaint, recognise.

Medicine:

Latin mederi 'heal' underlies all the English 'medical' words (it was formed from the base med-, which also produced English remedy). From it was derived medicus 'doctor,' which has given English medical: and on medicus in turn were based Latin medicina 'practice of medicine' (source of English medicine) and medicari 'give medicine to' (source of English medicament and medicate).
-remedy

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary 1983

Diagnosis:

The identification of a disease by means of its symptoms: a formal determining description.

Diagnose:

To ascertain from symptoms, as a disease.

Diagnostic:

Distinguishing, differentiating that by which anything is known: a symptom.

Prescribe:

To lay down as a rule or direction: to give as an order: to appoint: to give directions for, as a remedy: to limit, set bounds to: to claim by prescription: to lay down rules: to give or make out a prescription: to make a claim on account of long possession: to become of no force through time.

Prescription:

The act of prescribing or directing: a written direction for the preparation of a medicine: a recipe: enjoyment, possession, use, etc. from time immemorial or for a period of time fixed by law by which a legal right or title is acquired: any claim based on long use, or an established custom taken as authoritative. : limitation of time within which action may be taken.

A Veritable Dictatorship

By Sylvie Simon, France

From the book 'Healing: An Illegal Practice' 

NOTE: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO READ PHILIPPE AUTRIVE'S PREFACE UNDERNEATH THIS CHAPTER




see also:  Lie No. 1 : Pasteur is a Benefactor of Humanity - from ‘The Ten Biggest Lies about Vaccines’ by Sylvie Simon - click here 

A Veritable Dictatorship


by Sylvie Simon

Translated by Emma Holister

"We have grown accustomed to believing that no illness can be cured without medicine. However, this is just a superstition. Medicines are always dangerous".
Gandhi

According to Plato, Socrates was condemned to death because he did not believe in the gods recognised by the State. Today, these gods have been replaced by bureaucrats and experts. Like Socrates, a great number of doctors who refuse to idolise the thought processes of these new masters are brought before a 'tribunal of exclusion', Le Conseil de l'Ordre (the Council of the Order of Doctors), who have assigned to themselves a regal power and abuse it with total impunity, all with the complicity of the health insurance organisations.

Throughout the centuries, unable to tolerate the deviations of those who drift from the established way of thinking, men of power have always found various methods to gag or prevent from 'causing damage' those who have dared to think and act differently.

In this country, 'exporter' of human rights, most people feel that the Inquisition is a practice of the past as we no longer torture in the name of God. However, we continue to torture doctors and patients in the name of a so-called medical science whose limitations and misdeeds can be constantly observed.

All doctors should have the freedom to act according to their conscience as the Hippocratic Oath declares. Furthermore, article 7 of the Code of Medical Ethics states: "The doctor is free to prescribe that which he considers the most appropriate according the circumstances". As for the Helsinki declarations (1964) and those of Tokyo (1975) that prohibit the Huriet law, the international conventions taken to national law are very clear: "In the treatment of a sick patient, the doctor must be free to resort to a new diagnostic or therapeutic method if he considers that it offers a hope of saving the life of a sick patient, returning them to health, and relieving their suffering."

In reality, however, therapeutic freedom does not exist in the land of human rights, of citizens' rights, despite certain declarations by our politicians who unanimously claim their adherence to freedom of therapeutic choice. Thus, during a dinner debate organised on February 5th 1998 at the Hotel Concorde Saint-Lazare by the association of friends of L'Evénement du Jeudi, without fear of ridicule Bernard Kouchner, the then Secretary of State for Health, declared before more than eighty people that in France "we have therapeutic freedom". Several people, suffering from illness, who were present at the debate were surprised to hear this as they had seen their medicines - not approved in France but liberally sold elsewhere - confiscated by the police a few months earlier by order of the Ministry of Health.

However, Bernard Kouchner has not always delivered this type of speech. In June 1995 he confided to the Revue des deux mondes, in an article entitled: "Medicine and Cruelty":

" . . . Our medical system has become perverse to the point that the interests of doctors can sometimes be at variance with those of the sick . . . And I will not even mention here the staggering number of appendixes that have been removed for no justifiable pathological reason in French clinics during a certain period. Nor the bladders that the surgeons - but do they still deserve that name? - have removed simply to increase their business figures, nor the trafficking in prostheses amongst certain dishonest orthopaedists who attempt to profit from a diabolical system . . . We have made great progress in medical science but we have lost sight of the most important thing: people! . . . The social security system that the French hold so dear will soon crumble if we don't seriously modify it. Small reforms will only slow down the decline. A critique of the beliefs and medical practices is necessary in our country. Let us reform medical training, where too many statistics are learned (most of which, moreover, are falsified, full of lies, erroneous and fallacious!), and not enough humanism; the CHU must give priority to the human and social sciences! . . ."


We can only agree, but why two different speeches as time goes by and circumstances change? The reality is very different from all these nice declarations we hear from the irresponsible 'people of responsibility'.

As a prosecutor once claimed back in 1930 during the trial of a healer: "It matters little that the guilty have cured their fellow beings! The only thing that interests me is if they have the right to cure. Only people holding diplomas have the right to heal and even to kill. Get a diploma, you the guilty, and you will have the right over life and death."

It is currently the case that doctors are stricken from the register and thus accused of the illegal practice of medicine, whilst still in possession of an incontestable diploma, but once removed from the register they find themselves forbidden to practise medicine and are often treated as "charlatans". So nothing has really changed since 1930 and the indictments of the modern-day prosecutors strangely resemble those of their forefathers, every time that a doctor is brought before a tribunal for having treated his patients with a substance that is 'not authorised' by the Faculty (Order) and hence considered dangerous, even if the evidence of its efficacy is manifest. These indictments produce the same litany: "The question is not whether you have cured but that you did not have the right to do so!". An accusation which could well be replaced by "non-assistance of a person in danger", if the censured doctor had not intervened.

The discrimination to which hundreds of doctors are victim is ignored by no political party, but the subject is carefully avoided by our elected representatives who wish to remain, above all, 'politically correct'.

The Ordre des médecins, the organisation of private law and public interest whose mission it is to serve the public was created on October 7th 1940 by the Vichy government, four days after the promulgation of the Jewish Statute. Its aim was, amongst others, to 'purify' the profession. A role which it has fulfilled and which it continues to fulfil, as the texts of the period and the current political repression testify. It was dissolved during the liberation, but an order on September 24th 1945 rendered it legitimate even though it had never been ratified by Parliament as the Constitution decrees.

The connections between the Order during the occupation and the current Order are clear. The Order remained the sole agent of its archives during the war period and Doctor Portes, who was president of the Order in 1943-1944, then from 1946 to 1950, is still a moral reference for the current president Bernard Glorion. His recent repentance is in total contradiction to what he declared in March 1994, "I was 13 years old in 1941. I am also one of those people who were completely unaware of 'things' at the period when they were happening".

Ever since, the method of functioning of the national Order and its departmental or regional vassals, like that of its disciplinary sectors, has hardly evolved. Any disciplinary sector operates like a court of exclusion and scorns with impunity the basic principle of open debate. The doctor in question is judged by his associates who have no judicial competence and therefore nothing can guarantee either independence or impartiality, as it is common to find doctors who have interests within the pharmaceutical industry. Likewise, in the sector of social insurance, certain judges, with salaries from health insurance funds, are both judge and jury.

What is more, until just recently, the defendant was not heard publicly: he is at present, but generally witnesses who could contribute to clearing his name are not allowed to be heard. Once condemned, the accused cannot request compensation for damage, even when this has been flagrant and no matter what the consequences, whether on a personal or a professional level.

Already, in the 1950s, in the name of the national Union of Medical Doctors, Doctor Topsen had addressed a circular to all the candidates for the legislative elections asking them if they intended to maintain an institution inspired by the occupation, four days after the Jewish Statute.

". . . the near totality of French doctors - with the exception evidently of the members of the different Order Committees - ardently desire to be rid of this organisation which has turned out to be both useless and harmful. Created by Pétain at the request of the occupation, against doctors and not for them - in order to render them servants and not to serve them - it has been since its creation an instrument of oppression in the hands of the enemy and its supporters and has not succeeded in liberating itself from the totalitarian spirit which presided at its conception."


This situation is criticised by a growing number of doctors who consider that the existence of a Conseil de l'Ordre can be justified as a guarantee of the respect for medical ethics, but that it should withhold power from its disciplinary sector.

Certain doctors denounce their actions, which prompts Alain Dumas to say:

"In fact, the Order operates the combination of the three powers, executive, legislative, judicial, and as Montesquieu declares in spirit with the law: 'All would be lost if the same man or the same body of principles, or the nobility, or the people, exercised the three powers: that of making laws, that of executing public decisions, and that of judging crises or the differences between individuals.'

The danger of a corporatist and sectarian deviation had already been the object of a warning from the State Council in 1958. Condemned doctors cannot make an appeal to civil or penitentiary tribunals. As for the State Council, if it gives an opinion on the content, it can never judge until the end; it maintains a constant jurisprudence adhering obstinately until now to considering as inapplicable to disciplinary jurisdictions the dispositions of the article 6 - 1 of the European Convention that protect human rights and fundamental liberties: 'All persons have the right to have their case heard fairly, publicly and within reasonable delay by an independent and impartial tribunal . . .'.

Questioned recently on the aims of the Order, its president Pr. Glorion declared: 'The Ordre des Médecins does not have the competence to scientifically judge the quality of a treatment, only that of assuring that the treatment be officially validated.'

This is a confession of total submission to the French Agency for Medicine and to pharmaceutical power; moreover, it is confessing that a beneficial treatment for a patient, if it is not validated, can lead to its administrator being suspended from practice. In this line of argument, the sick patient no longer exists as an individual, but is subjected to the whims of the protocols. It is a dramatic confession and the end of Medicine with a human face". (Cf. Votre Santé: May 2000)


Effectively, in March 2000, Bernard Glorion was evoking the need to reform the ordinal institutions in his last work Medicine of the 21st Century. According to the current president, the threat of the suppression of the Ordre des Médecins, envisaged and promised by candidate François Mitterand in 1981, "revived bad memories and certainly calmed high feelings. Careful to be as discreet as possible, the members of the Conseil de l'Ordre fell into a certain lethargy . . . From the sessions of the committee to the writing of reports via contacts and meetings, deceit led to fantasy as nothing ever happened". The suggestions for reform of the permanent national committee remain secret.

The day after a disciplinary decision was taken regarding a famous cancer therapist in 1991, "the Order's wish to reform thrilled us with the Terquem report". This report included changes in the composition of the departmental councils that were more representative of the diversity of activities at the heart of the profession. It foresaw a more independent disciplinary jurisdiction with a magistrate from the beginning, with the regional council. "Other, more meticulous measures were to complete this operation which had as its aim the modernisation of an institution whose existence was no longer contested", commented the President. Coming up against a unanimous refusal, "these visionary and premonitory ideas would now be taken up and accepted with many fewer difficulties". For Bernard Glorion, the rules enunciated in the Code of Ethics are not to be ignored if one wishes to conserve the human side of the medical act. "An order of doctors that is reformed and adapted to social change constitutes an efficient rampart against the deviations of a modernism that is rash . . . The order of doctors must be representative of a large number of different forms of practice. It must be an open and transparent organisation, of service to society, thus harmonising with the motto of the British Medical Council that one could translate as: protection of the sick, guidance for doctors."

At the end of a lyrical flight of fancy about the exceptional mission of the Order to preserve health and to respect human beings throughout their lives until death, this president-doctor turns to the subject of the rights of ill people: "Of course, it may seem utopian, even hurtful, to speak of the rights of the ill. Isn't this judicial formula in contradiction to the notion of service, of generosity and devotion that constitute the honour of the world of medicine?" All whilst recognising that it is unfortunately sometimes necessary to remind doctors that they have duties, he suggests going further, to "also speak of the duties of the patients and the rights of the doctors. The future of healthcare depends on the sharing of responsibilities as in a reciprocal mutual assistance". The current president nevertheless refrains from suggesting that there be representatives of patients at the heart of the Ordre des Médecins, as is the case in the United Kingdom.

So, according to professor Glorion, the ideas regarding the reform of the permanent national committee of the national Order were never revealed after the electoral promise to suppress it by the future president of the Republic in 1981. And despite this wish to reform, the Terquem report, with its "visionary and premonitory ideas", was unanimously rejected in 1991. According to the present Secretary of State for Health: "It would however be currently accepted without difficulty"; nevertheless, he is not sure that this project of reform should be integrated into the governmental text for the modernisation of the health system.

Why, under such conditions, in twenty years, has this desire for reform been clearly expressed only by the partial opening of closed doors? Why did Professor Glorion, who claims to support an Order that is representative of a diversity of practices, not react when his homeopathic colleagues were called "recruiters for sects" by the Secretary of State for Health?

The same month that his book came out, the Green Party deputies took their turn in opposing the organisation and practices of the departmental sectors of the Order, accusing it of "partiality, union favouritism and fraudulent electoral procedures". Of course the French ecologists refer only to the "serious deviations of certain departmental sectors that have filed a complaint against certain referring doctors with the sole aim of obstructing the establishment of a legal system", but one can hope that the parliamentary commission that they are asking for will not remain a pious wish and will be the point of departure for indispensable reform in depth of the Order, leading it to total conformity with human rights.

Following the opposition of the Greens, the President of the national Order agreed to an interview with the paper Libération. He recognised the abuses of certain doctors holding positions in the departmental Order all whilst being union elected or members of an ordinal jurisdiction. According to him, certain departmental councils are even "organised like small feudalities". In confessing to "having requested, for seven years, modifications to our system", he justified on the other hand the necessity for in-depth reform of this archaic order of doctors (luxuriously installed at the Boulevard Haussmann, after having moved from the Boulevard La Tour Maubourg) and stated the impotence of this desire to reform. Despite these criticisms, March 25th 2001, during a channel 2 programme on the Ordre des Médecins, the president did not hesitate to affirm that: "The Order guarantees the independence of doctors", whilst Dr Bernard Debré admitted that the Order was "corporate".

In his work A Split World (La fêlure du monde) André Glucksmann tells of

"the adventure of a certain surgeon, at the time president of the Order of Doctors, therefore spokesman for the ethics and morality of the medical world . . . In the early eighties he was given a blood transfusion. Two or three years went by and a colleague recommended a test. He thought this sensible and complied: negative. 'And then?' asked a journalist, seven years later. 'And then; nothing', he answered. Relieved on his own account, he did not warn the thousands of people who had received transfusions in these years of ignorance. All of them ran a similar risk to his own. President, ex-president, never once did the thought occur to him to make a public announcement. . . This doctor, ill at ease, regretful . . . referred to the long, spiritual blindness that led him to neglect his own interests, then those of his constituents, finally those of a whole population, as 'a blind spot'. . . He became as suicidal as he had previously been almost homicidal."


As for the CNAM (Caisse nationale d'assurances maladies - National Health Insurance Fund), although they fiercely defend themselves to the contrary, they are even more dogged than the Order when it comes to pursuing those who stray from the beaten track. Their national counsellor-doctor, Pr. Hubert Allemand, insists: "cases of harassment (of liberal doctors by the health insurance's counsellor-doctors) do not exist" and he "guarantees a medical service that does a difficult job with a great deal of rigour, that is to say, precision" (cf. Le Quotidien du médecin February 23rd 2000). These statements provoked an outcry from liberal doctors. "Mr. Allemand's statements are unacceptable, but certainly reveal the state of mind of many of the leaders and executives in health insurance: arrogant certainty of the total authority of the administration, refusal to be aware of and admit their errors, refusal to accept any responsibility related to their everyday decisions. Democracy is in a bad way when the administration adopts such a stance." replied Dr Patrick Gérard de Nantes in the publication Le Quotidien du médecin March 8th 2000. Dr Martial Groboz commented that he is a "victim of the tribunals of exclusion that the CMR represents".

"Yes, harassment exists, whether or not Pr. Hubert Allemand agrees. His declarations to the contrary will not succeed in hiding the truth for long", says Dr Roch Menes de Clermont-Ferrand in the same magazine. "Rather than deny the evidence, Pr.Allemand would no doubt be advised to pay careful attention to the control of the funds and to attempt to put them into some order. . . But it is easier and more politically correct to take it out on the practitioners than to fight the malfunctioning of health-insurance funds.".

Back cover description of

Healing: an Illegal Practice

By Sylvie Simon


How is it possible to legally practise medicine, respect the Hippocratic Oath and the rights of ill people, in the face of the dictatorship of the Conseil de l'Ordre, in addition to that of the pharmaceutical lobbies?

This question, essential to the well-being of each one of us, is at the heart of Sylvie Simon's book. The author, who has gathered statements from courageous doctors, gives us access to the cogs of a machine that is controlled by the Conseil de l'Ordre, a tribunal of exclusion. She reveals how this Order uses and abuses its regal power in order to muzzle doctors who choose to heal their patients solely according to their knowledge and their conscience.

This book therefore, through the experiences of various practitioners, helps us to understand the pain of those who give their lives to curing the sick and who suddenly find themselves forbidden to practise on the pretext that they dare question a system that is on the whole riddled with the rot of medical and economic authority.

The Preface by Mtre Philippe Autrive, Paris Barrister
From the book ‘Healing, An Illegal Practice’ by Sylvie Simon

Translation, Emma Holister (circa 2002)

This book entitled ‘Healing, An Illegal Practice’ could also have been named ‘The Book of the Accursed’.  Time has long since passed since the doctor, the healer, went from village to village, spreading news, comforting some, treating others, not primarily in order to cure, but in order to prevent illness.

            The art of Chinese preventative medicine has gradually been replaced by the growing production and commercialisation of chemical therapeutic products that have, along the way, turned the patient into a simple consumer of medical merchandise, abandoning body and soul into the hands of the practitioner.

            Medicine has a tendency to become a ‘business’ where the patient is reduced to the level of nothing more than a client.  By continually boasting the merits of this or that product, the doctor takes on the appearance of ‘a sales representative’ for the large pharmaceutical laboratories, whilst most often ignoring the secondary side effects of this or that treatment.

            If medicine, medical research, laboratories and money are working so well together, the patients are gaining nothing from the affair.

            However, the system is well established.  The September 1997 issue of the medical publication, ‘Le Quotidien du Médecin’ (No. 6120) brandished the headline,

‘World Market Pharmaceuticals at 1800 Million Francs.’  

The growing weight of the pharmaceuticals’ industry and the unquenchable thirst for financial profit have given rise to an abuse of citizens’ rights. 

All the more so because these same laboratories, in order to back up their peremptory claims, don’t hesitate to quote the expert ‘who declares and asserts the ‘truly true’ and unquestionable scientific truth’ at the risk even of making himself look ridiculous. 

But ridicule does not kill and the ointments are legion, whilst the errors of the experts and the scientific councils who are ‘responsible but not guilty’ load heavy consequences upon the ordinary citizen.

            The emergence of the experts’ authority regarding the truly ‘scientific truth’ is rather reminiscent of the role played by the leaders of the inquisition.  It is worth pointing out that la Cour des Comptes (the court of accounts), in it’s report to the National Assembly, 13th October 1998, particularly singled out a prestigious assembly of experts, the committee for the transparency of the French Health Security Bureau for health products.
            The Court regrets that many members of this committee had direct links with the pharmaceutical industry, which, it said, ‘naturally leads to the questioning of their independence and neutrality…’

            The medical bureau has become the French bureau for the security of health products.   However, this simple facelift does not disguise the same methods, continually producing the same consequences.  With regards to this, it is remarkable to observe that the Department of Health has recently taken the decision to withdraw from the sector the reimbursement of 250 pharmaceutical specialities of which the therapeutic and healing virtues were no longer recognised.  This leads one to consider that the experts were wrong 250 times regarding these products!

            In addition to this, after having waited more than twenty years, it is difficult to understand the government’s lack of haste in ‘de-reimbursing’ these same 250 medical products, in the interest of the public, even when it would be a question of saving millions for the social security department.
             
            Beyond the simple facelift and name change, it would be interesting and significant to open the doors of the French Bureau for Health Security to citizens in the general public, so that they may participate in the various committees… 

            This lack of transparency of financial interests, in addition to the lack of new faces on the prestigious panel of experts is without any doubt one of the causes of the scandals we are forced to witness, and repeatedly so.

            What’s more, the proliferation of health agencies, (medical, food and veterinary products etc) does not mask the growth in scale of the scandals that are all inexorably linked to the ‘massive lobbying’.  They seem, in all evidence, unable to avoid them since their organisation and methods remain strictly the same.  In other words, on the one hand we have the promiscuity of the experts and trusts, and on the other we have the opinion and advice of our ‘politically correct’ experts who are there to please everyone, disappoint no one, and especially not the backers! 

            For example, it is interesting to note that the illness Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (ESB) was first detected in England in 1985, in other words fifteen years ago.  And what with one reassuring and lax message after another from our experts in the French Bureau for Food and Health Security (AFSSAPS), we are today faced with a veritable epidemic, which is rising by 33% each year!

            It is in this way that the public health organisation reflects the opinion of the authorities, the only authorities that are allowed to define what is good for the patient.  It is clear to see that this noble cause is ‘contaminated’ by profitable interests.

            The citizen is increasingly less of a patient and more of a consumer.

            It has always been that the privileged relationship between a patient and his or her doctor depends essentially on belief and confidence.  Therefore, from this perspective, it is immediately obvious that the citizen is giving and offering up his confidence to one who knows, one who treats, one who possesses science, but that there is no reciprocity. 
            In other words, the patient remains in the dark and in ignorance.  Likewise, it has always been that this relationship of trust and confidence is held in a climate of insecurity and fear: that of being ill, of not getting better, of suffering, etc… 

Our society has generated, through reassuring and guilt-provoking advertising campaigns, the myth, or the cult of ‘good health’; illness no longer exists!  Henceforth it is necessary, through the administration of chemicals that bring in vast amounts of money to the creators of this big new fear, to eliminate it, whether it be through eradication or prevention.  

Regarding vaccinations moreover, advertising plays a great deal on feelings of insecurity and fear, but also for mothers, on guilt.  It is therefore without any objectivity, thought or comprehension, that ill people are led to becoming nothing more than a mass of patients, passive consumers of products aimed at trying to cure them.  
           
            We can see that medical and pharmaceutical power rely on the confidence that the citizen believes he or she must nourish.   This confidence is a substantial and heavily budgeted element of pharmaceutical industry marketing.  In the absence of confidence, other more coercive methods exist, which remind one of the inquisition and which have as their main goal to outcast those who break from rank and file.  It is up to the authorities of public health to set an example, whilst resorting to, and why not? the old-fashioned public ordeals.  In other words, by exposing the condemned, the doctors, the nurses, the ill, to the verdict of the people and throwing them to the lions.

            So now we are forced to witness, if no longer the stake, at least the judgements, the condemnations, the prohibition sentences and the incarceration of the doctors, nurses and the ill who have made a choice other than that imposed upon them by the ordained authorities or eminent state representatives.

            Let’s not forget that a substitute doctor of the République did not hesitate to solicit a psychiatric assessment, from an examining magistrate, of a father who refused to have his French-resident children vaccinated, although they were Swiss, and Switzerland does not enforce vaccinations by law. 

Let’s not forget that a mother lost the parental right over her six-month-old daughter, in the name of child neglect, because she refused to administer the drug AZT to her!

            Once outside of the established order, that place of salvation, and the cleaver falls.  It falls on those practitioners who dare to scorn the ordained scientific or governmental authority, it falls on the ill whose only crime is to use products that do them good and that they judge to be effective for their bodies.

            Sanctioning must apparently show an example, even if there are no victims, quite the contrary.  The scientific world makes little show of open-mindedness.  Far from exchanging information, knowledge, experiences, what is incredible is that, at the dawn of the XXIe century, the censors, the commanders, the scientific inquisitors are still clamping down.  There’s no talking, no cohabiting, no exchange, absolutely not!  One judges and one sanctions, fossilised as one is with scientific certainties.

            This book could have been that of the hanged.  It is fortunately only that of the revolt of the condemned, the doctors, the midwives, the outlawed ill.
           
            Seneca once said, in the 4th century BC, ‘Wisdom requires little education!’  The days are gone where citizens blissfully believed in the comforting words of the experts and passively consumed.

            We are witnessing the return of the talking citizens, here, denouncing the contaminated blood scandal, or growth hormones, there, boycotting poisoned meat for which the experts peremptorily affirm that ‘the prion wasn’t transmissible from animal species to humans…’.   Once again, they are organising together in order to demand this or that treatment or to mobilise against this or that vaccination.

            Citizens are now demanding to be respected.  It’s worth noting that, if it had not been for the good sense and vigilance of ordinary citizens, no scandal could ever have arisen.  Furthermore it is because of pressure that those in power consent to, despite themselves and often too late, take responsibility. 

It is an uneven match, an unequal contest.  However the citizen’s fight against medical authority has gained some improvements such as for example, the doctor’s obligation to ‘acquire the patient’s permission prior to any medical intervention.’ 

This obligation comes from every person’s right to respect with regards to his or her physical integrity.  Originally employed by jurisprudence, in other words as the result of court cases put forward by ill people, this rule has henceforth been enforced by article 35 of the Code of medical ethics in the following terms: ‘A doctor owes the person that he is examining, treating or advising, information that is true, clear and appropriate, regarding his or her state of health, the tests and the treatment he recommends.’

            This contract, so dear to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, between the doctor and his patient, can no longer be inequitable or unbalanced.  The citizen must now be informed, and not just considered as a patient who is treated like a child.  Thanks to this information, citizens will be able to gain access to freedom of choice with regards to medical treatment. 

But the road to be taken is still a treacherous one, as this freedom may, no doubt, be undermined by the powerful financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. 

Freedom of choice of medical treatment, heavily supervised as it is by the public authorities, is still in its infancy.  Here and there we can now see the creation of citizen groups that are demanding the right to use this or that product, sold in one country or outlawed in another, following the example of those who were made ill by the products ‘Beljanski’ and ‘Solomidès’

            Has anyone ever seen citizens groups getting together and manifesting in order to obtain an antibiotic or an anti-depressant?

            There are also citizens acting individually.  ‘Freedom of action over one’s own body’ is a fundamental right, and gradually we are beginning to see the emergence of the demand for, and affirmation of the ‘dignity of the patient.’   This is being imposed upon doctors owing to their ultimate medical duty to combat the suffering that belongs to the patient!  

            Human rights are not given; they are gained.

                Citizens and doctors should at least find a common ground, since freedom of choice of medical treatment is the consequence of freedom of prescription. 

            Justice is intervening more frequently in this narrow relationship between doctor and patient.  However, the judge should explain rights but should not pronounce the eventual effectiveness of this or that technique.   In order to do this the judge has access to an expert, whose conclusions are not always marked by transparency and independence, especially with regards to their supervisory duty. 

            Freedom of prescription seems however to exist legally speaking; thus the Court of Annulments declares that ‘the doctor is the only person qualified to discuss questions regarding medical matters.’ (Ch. Crim. 24th October 1973).  Likewise, the limitation of the freedom of prescription does not exist in texts on medical ethics, since article 10 of the Code describes it in these terms: ‘the doctor cannot compromise his professional independence in anyway whatsoever.’  

The council of the medical establishment exists in order to enforce the respect for ethical rules and for a certain concept of medical practice, but no citizen representing users presides amongst them.  This is not a sign of openness.  Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights has already several times pointed out this exception of jurisdiction.  

            The doctor has taken the Hippocratic oath and once the patient demands it, he not only has the right but the duty to put aside the use of or the rules imposed by the use of the patient’s treatment.  

            Nevertheless, this halo of freedom of prescription for the doctor is limited in reality by the ethical dispositions that govern medical behaviour.   These forbid the handing over of non authorised medication, the recommending to a patient of a remedy or an illusory or insufficiently verified procedure, or indeed the use of a new non-researched therapy on the patient. 
           
            It’s worth noting that medication is authorised by means of a permit obtained from the French Bureau of Health Security for Health Products in order to market a product, following clinical trials by the promoter, in other words the laboratory.   It is then authorised by the experts, of which 90% of the members participate and have interests in private laboratories.  This is no gauge of independence and transparency.
 
            Thus, at the beginning of the year 1999, one quarter of reimbursable medication were seen to have the label ‘insufficient medical service’, which implies that the A.M.M.’s  (permits) were given without any discernment, but most certainly with vested interests…

             When it comes to medication and therapies that have been insufficiently tested, it is important to note that only the large private laboratories can afford the luxury of paying out the 10 million francs needed to test and validate their products and to obtain authorisation to market them, which is not necessarily a guarantee of their effectiveness.  

Furthermore, each year, dozens of medical products that have received the A.M.M permit are withdrawn from the market, owing to their dangerous nature, which shows that the clinical tests have not been trustworthy…

            Hence, the small promoters, the associations and the patients’ co-operatives have little chance of raising such sums of money and of obtaining this notorious permit from the experts in the Health Bureau.  All that remains for these experts to do is to marginalize them, indeed ‘charlatan-ize’ them and notably through the media, who on the whole are content to ‘spout off’, with insufficient research, the statements to the press given by such and such a laboratory or stamped about by some home-expert.

            Failing to have prescribed and cured, many doctors, some of whom give their experiences in this book, are hauled through justice, pursued, sentenced to the stocks of pseudo scientific certitude and become symbols of freedom of choice of medical treatment.

            Whilst mainstream medicine could without any doubt be enriched by the ancestral knowledge within the branches of natural medicine, it chooses to ceaselessly condemn, without even looking to analyse or question the data and the experiments.  This ‘fundamentalist’ refusal of mainstream medicine cannot hide its failure in a great number of illnesses, and the patient from now on demands a rendering of accounts and will not simply ‘swallow the pill’. 

            Let’s not forget the case of Pierre DAC for whom: ‘the aim of medical research is to find new methods of treatment and not new clients’.   But behind these condemnations, whose objective is only to ‘make an example of’, are the rights of the ill that are being flouted.  One used to think that their rights were well established, only to discover that they have only been hinted at!

            One used to believe in the booming declarations from Helsinki and Tokyo that expressively declared that ‘in the treatment of a patient, the doctor must be free to resort to a new diagnostic or therapeutic method if he or she judges that it offers the hope of saving a life, re-establishing the health or relieving the suffering of a patient…’
These declarations were no more than intentions!

            In the same vein, in the New England Journal of Medicine, Professor Kassire spoke in the following terms: ‘What really matters in a treatment is to know if a very ill patient feels relieved after its administration and not to know if a controlled trial can prove its effectiveness.’  (Le Monde 31 January 1997).  Therefore healing would be more important than medicine!

            The patient’s right is above all that of all citizens and everyone is directly concerned or will be one day for his or her loved ones, or for him or herself.  And as the good doctor Knock used to jokingly remind us, ‘every healthy person is an unaware sick person!’

            Citizens, much to the displeasure of the scientific authorities, are beginning to be heard, to demand their basic rights and to know the contents of vaccines, to apprehend the side effects of a particular drug, to take control of their body and mind.  Could the right to healthcare become the obligation to obey healthcare?


            The public authorities would be well advised to listen, not so much anymore to the demands that will be admittedly poorly met because of the lack of power of the trusts, but to the growing and more insistent murmur of citizens.  

No Freedom, Thankyou, We're French!

Note: I translated this article by Jacques Valentin in 2004. Now that Michael Moore is claiming that the French Medical system is the best in the world, I'm hoping this, along with the other articles about the French healthcare system on this blog, will help shed a little light on his mistake.

No Freedom, Thankyou, We're French!

by Jacques Valentin, France

Extract:

"The constant hammering by the media about the links between psychotherapy, charlatanism and sects has become so insistent and encounters so little resistance that we are witnessing a massive impregnation of the collective and individual unconscious which has taken on considerable proportions during the last few years. All users and practitioners of psychotherapy and personal development can only be struck by the way in which the theme is now omnipresent and it is perhaps a source of worry and anxiety amongst certain patients. It is equally impossible to present a therapy to the press without journalists fretting about legitimising a sect-like approach."

"This essentially repressive text is clearly inspired by the measures used for the illegal practice of medicine. We rediscover with this amendment, practically word for word, the measures within the field of medicine that permit the harassment of healthcare professionals who are not doctors (nutritionists, healers, naturopaths, osteopaths et al.) for the illegal practice of medicine. This includes the harassment of innovative doctors searching to develop new health systems and who are pursued for "unproven medical practices" or, to use the deliberately stigmatising expression of the Council of the Order of Doctors, for 'charlatanism'. Let us not forget that these measures already make France, in the domain of medicine, a completely backward country compared to other developed countries."


France is getting ready to adopt the most restrictive law in the world to regulate the practice of psychotherapy.

http://gestionsante.free.fr/

Translation by Emma Holister

The context and current situation

For at least the last ten years, a large media campaign has been trying to persuade the French that going to see a psychotherapist puts the security of patients at considerable risk; the reasons given are that many people without qualifications take up the practice of psychotherapy, that the sector has been infiltrated by sects, and finally that many of the methods are not scientifically valid.

It is for this reason that an amendment put forward covertly by the deputy, Doctor Accoyer, vice-president of the UMP group at the assembly (president Chirac's party), was unanimously voted by the 13 deputies present, in accordance with the well-polished technique for passing the sensitive dossiers through without debate, scorning universal and workers' suffrage and the work of a parliamentarian. It still has to go before the Senate in January 2003 according to the letter from the psychotherapy journal SNPPSY. He not only reserves the TITLE but also the PRACTICE of psychotherapy exclusively to psychiatric doctors (see text in French), general practitioners and clinical psychologists, by dispensation and by jury, according to function, qualifications and experience, to psychotherapists who have practiced for the last five years. The fact that the right of PRACTICE is reserved is the central issue, but it's a point that is too little focused on, even by professionals who rightly oppose the project. This reserved right of practice, which represents the main danger of the project, is a veritable act of war aimed at the non-medical forms of psychotherapy and more generally against all techniques of personal development, of relationship therapy and personal fulfilment.

The text offers no guarantee as to the quality of future psychotherapists; quite the opposite.

No guarantee and no precision are offered by the text as to the minimum training of this new caste of psychotherapists who will benefit from virtually no education in psychotherapy throughout their studies. Furthermore, hardly any training in clinical psychology is envisaged for general practitioners and even psychiatrists, and for the latter it is very brief, taking into account that the training is mainly geared towards physical disorders and the biological sphere.

The author is happy to point out that:

"Psychotherapies constitute therapeutic tools used in the treatment of mental disorders. The different categories of psychotherapy are fixed by decree of the Minister of Health. Their application can only be undertaken by psychiatric doctors, general practitioners and psychologists with the required professional qualifications stipulated by this same decree. The National Bureau of Health Evaluation and Accrediting offers its examination for the establishment of these conditions."

It is noteworthy that the notion of psychotherapy is not even specifically formulated, as the text does not indicate whether the forms of psychotherapy use psychological techniques in the treatment. This allows for the avoidance of specifying that psychotherapy is distinct from other aspects of medical practice with regard to treating mental disorders and therefore requires specific training.

The text is quite as elusive on other major points. For any other text pertaining to law, regulating a title, and that is furthermore the practice of a profession as in the current case, it would be stipulated that the professionals concerned must have followed training in official schools for a minimum period of so many hours and years, of which the course must have a certain minimum theoretical content. Likewise, the text does not allude at all to the necessity of supervision and continual training, whilst all professionals recognise and agree that this is absolutely indispensable. The "debate" at the assembly, if that's what we can call the few completely destitute paragraphs that accompany the amendment proposal, offers no supplementary information, especially regarding the expected training of the professionals or on the balance between legal text and decree.

There is good cause to wonder whether it occurred to the author(s) of the amendment to consider a few thematic courses in the line of continual training. Perhaps a few sections such as "practice of psychotherapy" in the initial training course, as well as, just for good measure, a course in gardening in a hospital environment, which would be a good enough first step towards becoming a psychotherapist. We here witness the magic that a medical diploma yields (reluctantly extended to psychologists), conceived by some sort of priesthood that magically bestows upon its recipients as much intrinsic competence as a common mortal would have who has undergone the most scrupulous training and who has much personal experience.

Essentially, the proposed legislation represents the management of privilege, very far indeed from a real management of competence. We are therefore heading towards having professionals who benefit from the title, are trained at a discount, and towards major problems of competence for the patients who are being exposed to risk, all whilst claiming to protect them with a title and a reserved right of practice. It took a great deal of nerve, but in this social climate of 'normalisation' the worst ineptitudes pass for a wise and well-considered move.

The list of the authorised forms of psychotherapy fixed by decree!

As if that weren't enough, the cherry on the cake is that Dr Accoyer has proposed that, incredibly, the list of the authorised methods of practice in psychotherapy should be set by the State. No other country in the world has ever proposed such measures, not even totalitarian and communist states, but that which the 'father of the people' had not considered, Dr Accoyer thought up and dared to write into law. In fact on reading the text we discover that:

"The different categories of psychotherapy are fixed by decree, by the Minister of Health. Their application can only be undertaken by psychiatric doctors, general practitioners and psychologists with the required professional qualifications stipulated by this same decree."

Thus, by putting into effect or proposing either a form of psychotherapy (if one does not have the title of psychotherapist) or a non State-authorised form of psychotherapy (if one has the title of psychotherapist) it will constitute, de facto, in the first case the illegal practice of psychotherapy and in the second an infraction in the practice of a non-authorised therapy.

This essentially repressive text is clearly inspired by the measures used for the illegal practice of medicine.

We rediscover with this amendment, practically word for word, the measures within the field of medicine that permit the harassment of healthcare professionals who are not doctors (nutritionists, healers, naturopaths, osteopaths et al.) for the illegal practice of medicine. This includes the harassment of innovative doctors searching to develop new health systems and who are pursued for "unproven medical practices" or, to use the deliberately stigmatising expression of the Council of the Order of Doctors, for 'charlatanism'. Let us not forget that these measures already make France, in the domain of medicine, a completely backward country compared to other developed countries.

But the measures used for psychotherapy are, on examination, even more suicidal with regard to freedom than those used for medicine.

In the medical world, the pursuit of charlatanism is initiated by the Councils of the Order, bastion of medical conservatism and of "all medicine". Despite the scandalous arbitrary power of the Councils of the Order, the scope of what constitutes a proven practice remains, at least in theory, open, and is not pre-defined, which is normal, as the field of medical science is in perpetual evolution.

On the contrary, for psychotherapy they want what is proven or not, to be fixed at the State's discretion, without consulting those involved, and without any possibility of an appeal. In future, psychoanalysis or any form of psychotherapy can therefore be forbidden by this procedure. Even supposing there were to be a very great liberalism amongst the authorities, which is clearly not the case today, it would be impossible to reference all the forms of therapy within this fast-growing field in perpetual evolution. It is likely however that these very restrictive measures will be fully used to block to the maximum the awarding of a discretionary pass to the therapists who are not doctors or psychologists but have more than five years of experience.

French fantasies concerning the fight against sects

We will now turn to one of the most astonishing taboo subjects in French contemporary culture, the fight against sects. It is a sensitive subject to approach as the simple fact of saying that the fight against sects leads to certain excesses and loss of control in France will result in your being suspected of being a sympathiser. An apparently very efficient threat, as dissent is the exclusive work of alternative personalities who are outside the media and sacred intellectual circles.

However, it is difficult for an objective observer not to notice the large barrier that has progressively been erected over the last twenty years, cutting off certain "sensitive" subjects, and in a remarkable way, subjects that, on first analysis, would seem rather peripheral to the sect issue. In fact, one generally considers sects to be highly structured movements that put forward an imposing ideology often compared to indoctrination. On the face of it, it is nothing to do with psychotherapy and alternative medicine, where in fact it is diversity and creativity that prevail. False! According to the "theoreticians" in the fight against sects, who claim that sects are actually much more supple and informal structures that indeed colonise and infiltrate these therapies, it's even one of their priorities. Of course, this is because psychotherapy and the methods in alternative medicine are, in essence, not scientific. They belong to the modern rationale that scientific progress is much too slow to eradicate. In this domain affirmation is worthy of demonstration, and the result is disastrous. We are therefore in a situation whereby the periphery, alternative medicine and psychotherapy, in their hypothetical and unproved relationship with sects, become the centre, the heart of the problem.

It is noteworthy that the question of the fight against sects has a strong connection to the consensus on the politics regarding the frontiers between science and the rest of our culture. The prevailing scientism, subjugated to social, economic and cultural interests, is much more powerful than before. In this context the opponents of sects use social and political repression to extend the field of scientism. They are opposed to respectable cultural manifestations such as alternative medicine and psychotherapy. The former consensus is broken and scientism has launched itself into new politics of territorial annexation.

The constant hammering by the media about the links between psychotherapy, charlatanism and sects has become so insistent and encounters so little resistance that we are witnessing a massive impregnation of the collective and individual unconscious which has taken on considerable proportions during the last few years. All users and practitioners of psychotherapy and personal development can only be struck by the way in which the theme is now omnipresent and it is perhaps a source of worry and anxiety amongst certain patients. It is equally impossible to present a therapy to the press without journalists fretting about legitimising a sect-like approach. This issue can also affect the family environment, being at times the cause of serious conflicts in cases where there is disagreement about continuing the practice. Any problem that a couple may have that turns bad (in a country where 50% of relationships end in divorce) and where a therapist is concerned can therefore add fuel to the 'anti-sects brigade' with juicy stories supplied by a "victim" whose words are of course taken as proof.

It is striking to see how psychotherapists from other countries visiting France are often stupefied when faced with the consequences as well as the general climate, the "atmosphere", that are created by this French speciality: the fight against sects. This fight and the sectarian problem seem not to exist anywhere else to such an outrageous extent.

The sectarian question is, in our opinion, largely beside the point when it comes to the problems posed in undertaking psychotherapy; it gives rise to vague apprehensions and is a source of anxiety fixation of a different origin. It creates a hazy anxiety instead of a questioning process that would be more appropriate for the person involved.

When a person makes contact with a psychotherapist, rather than wondering if the therapy or therapist gives off, like the devil, a "sect-like" odour, it would be more useful for them to ask themselves the following questions. Is the therapeutic method appropriate for them and do they agree with its philosophy and methodology? Is the psychotherapist pertinent in his or her interventions? Is there too big a dissonance between the personality of the therapist and that of the patient? Is the therapist sufficiently firm to be able to put forward his analysis, when faced with the resistance of the patient, without being sharp, aggressive or intrusive? Is he flexible enough to respect both the pace of the patient's evolution and the overcoming of their difficulties? Does he adhere to a coherent theoretical framework allowing him to organise his therapy? Is the encounter with the patient for him in fact a chance to go back to the theory in order to adapt it to the patient (and not the opposite)? Etc.

All these questions, if they are dealt with honestly, help avoid many errors (starting with the possible risk of sects), given that dogmatism, incompetence, and psychological violence in therapy are problems that have little to do with the titles and diplomas of the therapist.

Of course, there can be problems with psychotherapy, as with any social activity. One manoeuvre of the French 'anti-sects campaign', since they've had psychotherapists in their sights, has moreover consisted of scrupulously gathering all the problems that they can find in order to discredit the profession.

To reason on the failures, the limits, the real or supposed impasses of a psychotherapeutic method and more generally the examination, without prejudice, of a technique from a constructive, critical perspective is very interesting and useful. I am the first to regret that the people interested in psychotherapy are not more often inclined towards this type of work.

Furthermore, in order to be useful, they require extended knowledge, probity and a faultless intellectual honesty. We are therefore leagues away from what the anti-sect websites are writing on the subject, leaving, it must be said, a nauseating impression, the prejudice, the doctrinaire attitude, the will to do damage as palpable as it is, polluting the analyses made of them.

All whilst not denying that certain psychotherapists can be dangerous people, incompetent or completely irresponsible. My point is that there are probably not more than in a profession that elects to be hand-picked, such as that of doctors.

It is worth imagining the result if they were to do the same thing to other professions, looking only at the errors, failures, incompetence, and dishonesty that exist in any technical profession that has major consequences for the user, from doctors to car mechanics, from plumbers to accountants. We would obviously all have the same apocalyptic and totally false vision. In fact, compared to the other professions mentioned, the psychotherapist's patient has, without a doubt, a much greater chance of judging in good time the quality of the professional that he is dealing with and can pull out of the situation before suffering physical or moral prejudice or irreparable financial damage. Under these conditions as well as a better self-organisation of the profession, anything that moves in the direction of encouraging the user of therapy to be sensible, balanced and unbiased would seem useful and necessary.

Finally, is it necessary to remind ourselves that people follow a therapy above all in order to achieve a better foundation and sense of existential security in their everyday lives? How many specific techniques have such a praise-worthy aim in our society? What extraordinary duplicity and irresponsibility to deliberately present psychotherapy as a high-risk course of action. In any case, there is a very significant inversion of values triumphing everywhere in our society.

But why then this omnipresence of the sect theme?

The fight against sects is a very French phenomenon that has been slowly but surely developing in France since the coming to power of the socialists in 1981, and gaining the dimensions of a veritable national obsession. As far as it is possible to establish, it basically acts as a smokescreen to the corruption and incompetence of the country's ruling class. A ruling class that is widely discredited in the public opinion, with all parties in a confused mix, especially since the left, once in power, took off to the right in the most unbridled wheeling and dealing. France, and above all its media, culturally and traditionally, associates the left with a certain moral discourse; the result has been an acute and profound moral crisis. The fear of sects has succeeded in rather efficiently distracting the attention of the public from the enormous financial corruption, towards secondary problems related to sects, sometimes real and even dramatic, but most often blown out of proportion or even totally imaginary. But from the outset one wonders if this campaign isn't in order to compensate primarily for a disorientation and loss of bearings most particularly marked amongst journalists themselves.

In France only certain papers specialise in the fight against sects and they publish alarmist articles on the subject fairly regularly. But they all repeat the stereotypical sect-speeches that often revolve around the subjects of contamination, infiltration, that are very revealing of the scapegoat theme so well developed by René Girard. Elsewhere, quite as revealing, is the type of amazement that strikes the press once a problem in society that one could consider, in one way or another, "contaminated" by the sect problem, such as natural or alternative health, or in the present case, psychotherapy, enters the news forum. In other words, there is a remarkable locking away of information in the media.

The theme of the infiltration of sects, through the use of a scapegoat, could also probably itself be viewed as a process of attention displacement. Which is the western country where the political elites have the most difficulty in recruiting new members? Which is the country where the highest rank of the civil service monopolises all of the highest posts within the civil service and private sectors? Hence practising a faultless solidarity amongst themselves to the detriment of the public welfare (e.g. the 'shipwrecking' of the French bank Credit Lyonnais as well as so many other public affairs). Which country has the heaviest presence of Freemasons within the ranks of political and economic power? In which country does the fossilised medical elite clamp down on any progress in the medical world? Which is the country where journalists consort the most with politicians, never criticising them? So here too the theme of sect infiltration seems to be a smokescreen to hide the serious fossilisation process which has beset the leading elite of this country. It encourages people to believe that these leaders are firmly and bravely fighting the infiltration by sects, thus partially restoring, in an illusionary manner, some of these leaders' lost virtue.

A Deaf, Mute and Blind Media

The October and November headlines in France amused the gallery with a debate which is all the rage about the wearing of veils to school, an issue concerning probably a few hundred young girls at most.

At the same time, no debate was opened regarding a project to regulate a whole profession, that of psychotherapy, which plays a major role in this country. A project that was nevertheless highly questionable and that, furthermore, had been introduced in the most scandalous manner via an amendment, whereby this event will have a considerable effect on the daily lives of millions of French people. Mention by the press was reduced to, for example in the French newspaper Le Monde's 'daily references', a few little allusive lines the day before the passage of the amendment, and then nothing more on the subject. With the newspaper Liberation, it was necessary to wait for more than 15 days before an article appeared which didn't really convey the reality of the situation but which at least considered alerting some of the people who would be affected (including yours truly). And it did follow up shortly after with the publication of a response by an organisation representing psychotherapists. There were also a few morsels in the medical press. One might add that no article reproduced the legislative text, which was nevertheless not very long, but no doubt this was in order to avoid having to comment on it. There was even less information about it on the TV, of course. Finally and after interminable hesitations Le Monde finally proposed a dossier on the subject, nearly a month after the vote. Naturally, Dr Accoyer, deputy, promoter of this project, benefited from a particularly deferential interview which totally deprived the reader of any contradictory line of argument. And no chance was given to representatives of psychotherapists to express themselves. The newspaper Le Figaro, shortly after, produced one article (only), which was a much more balanced view than that in Le Monde. Apparently nothing in the Express. Nothing either in the Nouvel Observateur (on checking their titles on the Internet). In Le Point ( le bloc-notes de Bernard-Henri Lévy ) 21/11/03 there was a condemnation of the Accoyer project which was accurate although it limited itself to the practice of psychoanalysis.

We witnessed therefore, initially, a general blackout, then a few crumbs of news on a subject that must surely interest readers. Furthermore, not one organ of the press expressed indignation that a major issue concerning society be dealt with in almost total secrecy in the form of an amendment. All this whilst considering it useful to organise a commission and long debates concerning the wearing of veils and religious objects in schools.

At the beginning of December 2003, the great majority of people who did not follow the news closely, even cultivated people involved in psychotherapy or personal development, had not heard of this project, or if they had, only very vaguely, and they had no idea of where it was leading.

How can this media blackout be explained? When can something be called deliberate misinformation? Especially with regard to 'psychological blockages' concerning "the sect theme", to incompetence and to the inability to do the work of a journalist, to point out and explain information.

Noteworthy, for example, is the case of the weekly publication Marianne which shortly after the vote on the amendment on psychotherapy came out with a substantial article in one of its editions on the plague of sects. It is difficult to describe this article as anything other than a remarkable show of vulgarity, as it put together totally unrelated information in order to falsely construct an argument on how sectarianism was running a rampage through the minds of the French. Sects may stagnate or regress as organisations, but in a still more insidious fashion, the newspaper Marianne explains, they may be on the point of triumphing, in a Machiavellian fashion, over the layman's valiant 'antibodies' that had until now protected society and our minds. Society is therefore on the point of losing its sanity and of being devoured by sectarian ideologies which are particularly prevalent in . . . yes, guess where . . . of course, in the domain of psychotherapy. 'Fortunately' a courageous deputy has just submitted an amendment . . . In fact this information, which was not a main item in this edition of Marianne, but which appeared in a few lines at the end of one of the articles, was, to the alerted reader, the key theme around which the whole of the weekly edition seemed to be written. It is difficult not to notice that the article is totally circumstantial. Reader-manipulation replaces debate and honest opinions. It is a precise example, and most astonishingly so, of the influence of the anti-sect networks within the press, and what probably constitutes the main danger of this network is its capacity to extract itself from the usual left-right divisions in order to short-circuit all free debate.

There was an even more blatant and brutal example of manipulation in a documentary on the TV channel France 2, November 19th 2003. The psychotherapy journal SNPPsy wrote, "this documentary is a biased piece of reporting, an anthology, manipulating public opinion." You can read for yourselves the request for a right to reply addressed to France 2 from the SNPPsy.

In my opinion this manoeuvre clearly shows that behind the surface politeness towards psychotherapists, who were received by Dr Accoyer and the Health Ministry's councillors, the "ultras" who serve Dr Accoyer still hope not to change one comma of their amendment. They continue to unscrupulously motivate their politically controlled men in the media. Is it really necessary to hold a courteous dialogue with a man who continues unperturbed as he ties the hangman's knot in the rope that you will be hanged with? The psychotherapists' unions are doing their best no doubt, but I hope they do so without too much naivety. Dialogue will perhaps end up winning anyway, with the possibility that other players from unexpected intermediaries may arrive.

All this is nevertheless extremely serious as, thanks to the label of 'sect', forms of treatment for certain social problems have already been denounced. Denounced by the liberal media who are deeply reactionary and participating in an atmosphere of social cleansing with all political orientations in one melting pot.

It is important to stress that beyond the media, there is also a remarkable resignation amongst French intellectuals. Not one voice has been raised in the last 20 years against the consequences of the influence and abuse engendered by the fight against sects in society. Careerism and collusion with the media, a generation crisis, stagnation in intellectual circles, serious disconnection with what the concrete problems in daily life are, outmoded ideas of what the laity is. These are probably the determining elements of this scandalous attitude where cowardice and blindness prevail.

Finally, in considering these people of responsibility (who sometimes have too comfortable a disassociation from responsibility) we can only be struck by their inability to organise themselves in order to defend the people most concerned: the psychotherapists, the specialists in personal development, the specialists in alternative medicine and in natural healthcare and the countless people who use these techniques. Perhaps this is the most worrying sign in this situation, leading us inevitably to pessimism as to the future and the possibility of a resistance to this 'normalisation' process. I emphasise that what is described here reveals above all that France is confronted with a very specific cultural crisis.

Situation in February 2004 after the Senate's vote:

From December 2003 (date of the publication of this article), to February 2004, a strong and unexpected reaction swept across French society. Users of psychotherapy, open-minded psychoanalysts, psychologists and psychiatrists came together to warn of the dangers of the proposed Accoyer Law and projects aimed at bringing psychotherapy under State control via a "medicalised" psychiatric system.

Shortly before it's passing through to the Senate, reports in the mainstream media, on radio and television, forced as they were to deal with the subject, albeit in an often simplistic and distorted manner, nevertheless allowed opponents of the project to send out an alert, especially on the Internet. It was the biggest public reaction the Senators have seen in years, such was the anxiety amongst voters caused by the Accoyer project.

The government came under pressure and finally decided to abandon the initial Accoyer amendment. However, they did not really have any alternative project to put forward and remain very hostile to psychotherapists. Everything had been conducted in a climate of nervous improvisation.

The most ardent and determined opponents came together very quickly and formed the group Coordination Psys, thus regrouping psychotherapists who are not psychoanalysts and also bringing together the Freudian Jacques-Alain Miller school of psychoanalysts, all of which are represented by JAM.

Many psychoanalysts, scornful as they are of anything that is not strictly psychoanalysis, consider this alliance to be unnatural, despite being unable to suggest an alternative. A number of them were against the project, others were for it, on condition that psychoanalysis be a recognised therapy and that their competitors' therapies be eliminated by the new law.

The government sought to divide people by negotiating separately with the psychoanalysts who were not within Coordination Psys. They satisfied the psychoanalysts by excluding them from the initial ruling.

Finally, the result was a vote by the Senate of an amendment originating from the Government, which is particularly badly written and no longer relates to the Accoyer project. It foresees the obligatory registration of psychotherapists at the Prefecture, that psychoanalysts will be sought via their profession's directories, but that general practitioner doctors and psychologists are relieved of any registration at all! Absolutely no qualifications in psychotherapy will be required. Application requirements are foreseen although it's difficult to see upon what they will be based. Basically it's a text that is as confused as it is useless.

In reality the informed observer will understand that this improvised and circumstantial text will be replaced again once it passes before the National Assembly in April. Dr Accoyer's supporters, harshly shaken as they were by this unexpected resistance to their manoeuvres, are trying to reorganise in order to support a new version of the Accoyer project. So vigilance remains more than ever necessary.

Coordination Psy supported, unsuccessfully, an amendment in the Senate by Mr Gouteyron who was suggesting the creation of a governmental organisation divided into four departments (psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy) that would have dealt with ethical questions in the domain of psychotherapy. It would have been the mouthpiece and council to the government for all proposed legislation.

Coordination Psy has decided to create an association based on this idea. It already brings together all psychotherapists and attempts to link up with as many psychoanalysts as possible, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists. A difficult but essential task that will consolidate the representatives of the Coordination in order to discuss the situation with the deputies before April.

In fact, just having one recognised non-governmental public interest organisation that brings together the maximum amount of professionals and gets them used to talking to one another, would be acceptable.

It is essential to reject any public organisation where the representatives are nominated by the State (as in the Gouteyron amendment) which could once again be vulnerable to manipulation. It would appear that Coordination Psy has understood this problem and is heading in the right direction by creating this association.

This article expresses the individual opinion of Gestion Santé. Although it defends the free practice of psychotherapy, it does not claim to represent the position of psychotherapists or of their representatives regarding the current plans for regulation.