A New Medical Pluralism: Complementary Medicine, Doctors, by Sarah Cant

By Sarah Cant

This comparative textual content examines the increase of non-orthodox drugs and theorizes the altering nature of future health care in sleek societies. It engages with sociological debates on modernity and postmodernity, anthropological paintings.

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Extra info for A New Medical Pluralism: Complementary Medicine, Doctors, Patients And The State

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1993) and it is possible that a similar pattern exists for the alternative medical services. Certainly, the fact that users usually pay privately or use private health insurance means that the finding that users have higher incomes is not too revealing. All British studies have shown that there are regional differences in use, the North of England and Scotland generally having much lower levels of consultation (MORI 1989) but this may reflect the greater number of practitioners and training schools in the South (Fulder & Munro 1982, Thomas et al.

5). In turn, the new and satisfied users of course act as advisors to other users or they actively bring new users to the practitioner (as in the case of mothers who decide to use it for their children, particularly when concerned about the over use of antibiotics). This seemed to be a frequent pattern (Sharma 1992). Once the parent had tried the therapy for themselves they were happy to use it with their children. Women of course may not have the same success with their partners. In Cant’s (1997)4 study for instance, one respondent talked about how she had convinced all her children to use the homoeopath but could not get her husband to attend: “No, he’s on a different planet, he’d say he had no time, but you need to be a sensitive type of person to go.

That is, there was a significant category of people who were high users of both kinds of medicine. This raises important policy and financial questions about the pluralistic use of services. Does the use of alternative medicine lead to effective deployment of health budgets if patients also simultaneously use biomedicine? Certainly, it may please biomedical doctors that they are not abandoned and that they can continue to monitor the progress of their patients but in many cases patients are effectively receiving double amounts of care.

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