Written by John Phillips
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Topics: Health, Government

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

image for Voodoo Doctors Oppose New Regulator

The British Voodoo Doctors Association (BVDA) has threatened to take industrial action, unless the government drops its plans to create a new independent regulator. Officials from the Department of Health are holding eleventh hour talks with BVDA leaders to avert a strike.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said that regulation is crucial to the survival of the industry. "At the moment, the public has no way of knowing which voodoo doctors are professionally trained, and by regulating the industry we can allow the public to make informed choices. We want to assure the BVDA that we have their interests at heart, and we are determined to create the conditions that will allow voodoo to thrive in this country." The spokesman added that the government is committed to seeing voodoo available on the NHS along side more established practices like homeopathy and the Alexander technique.

The government announced its plans after complaints about voodoo doctors increased for the third consecutive year. Most of the complaints were about voodoo spells that either failed to work, or produced unpredictable results. In a typical case, a man from the West Midlands had hired a voodoo doctor to reincarnate a recently deceased relative, but after several weeks of mixing potions in the house, the relative failed to be revived, and the doctor disappeared with his payment.

The BVDA opposes the new regulatory body because it wishes to maintain its independence. In a statement yesterday, the BVDA Chief Executive Dr Samuel Imbota said that voodoo is an ancient practice, and it would not benefit from government intervention. "We don't feel that the new body will reduce the complaints. There are very few fully qualified voodoo doctors in Britain, and if anybody suspects they are dealing with a shaman, they should contact us immediately. The BVDA has an internal complaints channel which will deal with shamans in the appropriate way."

Voodoo has seen a resurgence in Britain in the past few years, as the public has become more accepting of alternative therapies. Dr Imbota said "There are a lot of myths about voodoo and we want to show the public that there is more to voodoo than just head shrinking and sticking pins in dolls."

The negotiations continue.

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