Is this the right GP for the drugs advisory council?
By EVAN HARRIS - GUARDIAN.CO.UK
Added: Wed, 26 Jan 2011 09:05:28 UTC
Thanks to billzfantazy for the link
There is only one GP on the Home Office's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). Until last month Dr Margaret Birtwistle served on the ACMD. She is a GP consultant to Surrey Drug Action Team and a forensic medicine examiner. Last week, the Home Office appointed Dr Hans-Christian Raabe, a Manchester GP who does not appear, as far as I can see, to have published any relevant peer-reviewed research.
So it appeared that the Home Office was not able to recruit attract any specialist GPs and thus appointed an inner-city GP. But Raabe is not just a GP. He is a leading member of the Maranatha Community, a Manchester-based evangelical Christian group.
He is also the joint "medical co-ordinator" of the Council for Health and Wholeness (CHW), a group based in the office of the Maranatha Community. Both the Maranatha Community and the CHW have strong views on drugs and homosexuality and regularly send briefing materials to MPs and policymakers.
Raabe has co-authored an article that claims: "While the majority of homosexuals are not involved in paedophilia, it is of grave concern that there is a disproportionately greater number of homosexuals among paedophiles and an overlap between the gay movement and the movement to make paedophilia acceptable."
He becomes the only member of the ACMD to declare a political interest, in that he has been a candidate for the Christian party in the European elections. Reporter Mark Easton in his BBC blog cites examples of his extreme hostility to harm reduction, which is a fundamental part of the way this country's healthcare and education professionals seek to safeguard the welfare of young people and drug users. These are not mainstream scientific views.
I would say that the problem with Raabe, in respect of his appointment, is not that he appears to be homophobic, or that his views are offensive. After all, neither homophobia nor offensive views can be a bar to serving on expert advisory committees or to participation in public debates. Nor is it a problem that he is deeply religious. There are plenty of religious people in advisory groups and engaging in policy discussions, some of them making valuable contributions. The problem is that the ACMD is an expert committee where even those members with strong policy views have them framed in the context of their experience in the field, or their scholarship, and not merely their opinions and beliefs.
Read on [Original article also contains several links, not reproduced here]
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