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Calling time on so-called experts

December 13th, 2004

Dr Petra

ITV 1’s ‘Tonight with Trevor MacDonald’ has just outlined the many concerns health professionals have been raising about the qualifications, skills and practice of Dr Gillian McKeith. Mainly that her PhD was obtained via a distance learning course in the US, that may not reach the same academic standards required in the UK, that she wasn’t medically trained, and many of her products make claims not supported by evidence.

It was good to see a mainstream programme showing people how to question whether someone’s a genuine expert – and to get past the razamatazz of celebrity endorsements and dubious professional links. Although it was unfortunate that in its attempts to show McKeith wasn’t adequately qualified the programme continually pointed out how ‘medical’ doctors were superior. In some areas, maybe, but in this area it’s qualified nutrition experts (who may or may not be medical doctors) who are best placed to talk to the public.

Let’s hope programme makers now turn their attention to the ‘sexperts’ who have set themselves up in the same way as Gillian McKeith, and in fact have even fewer qualifications.

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