St Lukes to close in September

Both our local papers report the closure of St Lukes medical centre at the end of next month due to “lack of staff”, with the Stroud News reporting the shortage of GPs nationally as the reason. The story is the front page headline, but the fact that the surgery is anthroposophical is not mentioned until page 8, where also at last Rudolf Steiner himself gets a mention.

Stroud life is more specific about the problems at St Lukes;

A number of factors have led to the decision including the relatively small number of patients, the finances of the practice and difficulty recruiting GPs, including those with anthroposophic expertise or interest.

The failure to recruit  doctors willing to participate in anthroposophic medicine is the reason, and we can only assume that the postgraduate training course run by Dr Evans in Stroud has either been poorly attended, or has failed to inspire GPs to work at St Lukes.

There are 4,000 patients registered at the medical centre, and according to the patient survey 80% of those who responded consider anthroposophy important;

Importance of anthroposophic medicine:

                              Responses 2013            Responses 2014

Not at all                                5 (3%)                             5 (4%)

Don’t mind                           16 (10%)                          14 (10%)

Fairly important                   18 (12%)                          7 (5%)

Important                              23 (15%)                         37 (27%)

Very important                      92 (60%)                        73 (53%)

I know for a fact that some of the patients have never heard the word anthroposophy and have no idea they have been part of a spiritual development project by a religious cult. They are attracted by the idea of “holistic” medicine.

Anyway this is a positive news story for Stroud. As my GP pointed out, the patients will be added to the lists in other local practices, assuming they can bring themselves to use mainstream medicine, but Gloucestershire NHS will no longer be funding what can only be described as quackery, and that is a good thing.





  1. Jim

    I like the link to the post grad training courses. There’s a summer intensive course for “conventional and complimentary practitioners”. Complimentary certainly doesn’t describe my doctor – if ever I complain of anything all I get is “well, what do you expect at your age”.

    Maybe all the local anthros will move to somewhere with an anthro GP?

  2. Helen

    I think the nearest you get to a compliment is when you have a particularly interesting condition and then they can really get to work. From what I have heard about St Luke’s GPs, the compliments dry up if you express doubt about their treatments.

    As I see it, the patients’ desire for anthroposophic medicine is akin to patients at my practise saying they want free tea and cakes and a dance troupe in the waiting room. If they want stuff like that they can pay for it themselves.

  3. Jim

    Today’s SNJ reports on efforts by patients and staff to keep St Luke’s afloat. They say the practice had not received as much cash as others because few of their patients have the “chronic diseases” linked to payments.

    Or to put it another way, sick people avoid St Luke’s.

  4. LAR

    As an ex Ruskin student if I was ill they (Ruskin mill) would phone up make an appointment for me, then I would phone up and cancel it and go and see a REAL G.P I never trusted anyone at St. lukes thank god I knew someone who did care for me and registed me with a proper practice

    • Jim

      The thing I find odd is that the anthro doctors are also “real GPs”, in the sense that they have proper medical qualifications. How they can undertake all the study that entails and still believe the anthro nonsense is quite beyond me.

      I would be interested to hear whether, and for what conditions, anthro doctors prescribe conventional medicine. Is homeopathy and eurythmy always the first choice?

  5. Richard Vick

    I have been a patient at St Lukes for many years. I am not an anthroposophist but I have welcomed the offer of alternative treatment before being handed a prescription for antibiotics or other chemical formulations. All the doctors are part of the NHS and will, in my experience, administer the appropriate mainstream medicine when and if required.

    • Helen

      Hi Richard, thanks for commenting.
      St Luke’s has been funded by the NHS because the doctors are qualified GPs, and they must supply mainstream medicine or the “chemical formulations” you mention in order to qualify for this funding.
      You say you are not an anthroposophist, and I am sure the majority of patients at St Luke’s are not (it is difficult to define what is an anthroposophist anyway, and even harder to find anyone who will admit to it!)
      Nevertheless you and all the other 4,000 have put your health in the hands of doctors who sincerely believe that karma is an important factor of physical and mental health. I can’t help thinking this is unwise, especially if you don’t understand anthroposophy yourself. The two families I know personally who have used this practise have not had good experiences.
      The fact that we have been paying these doctors to offer all kinds of non-proven and possibly dangerous treatments before mainstream medicine is scandalous in my opinion.

      • Jim

        I suppose it is possible these doctors have been undermining the system from within by citing their anthro credentials to gain the patient’s confidence but then prescribing them real medicine……..

        But seriously Richard, when would you consider ‘alternative’ treatment more appropriate? Obviously my answer would have to be “when I’m not ill” but I’d be interested in your thoughts.

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