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Does Homeopathy have a role in General Practice?
Introduction: This frequently asked question often polarises opinion and generates strong feelings. Despite high patient demand and positive patient reported outcomes, the subject remains controversial, and the challenge of negative plausibility bias often impedes a balanced discussion of the evidence around Homeopathy. With questions regarding the role of Homeopathy within General Practice likely to continue to be asked for some time, the aim of this presentation is to provide evidence based material to encourage and inform this ongoing discussion. Homeopathy has a long history of traditional usage within medical practice around the world since it was first proposed by German Physician, Dr Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. After Dr Frederick Quin introduced Homeopathy to the UK in the 1830's, it became established as a branch of medical practice, with various Homeopathic hospitals founded and the Faculty of Homeopathy established as the professional body for doctors who integrate Homeopathy within their practice. Despite never being far from controversy, it proved a popular treatment option within both the UK National Health Service as well as in private practice. In recent years, a reduction in state funding in the UK has led to increased usage within the private sector. Now in its 177th year, the Faculty of Homeopathy continues to be the professional organisation for doctors who integrate Homeopathy within their practice. Founded in 1844 and incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1950, members of the Faculty of Homeopathy advocate a whole person approach to healthcare, integrating a range of conventional, lifestyle and holistic approaches within their practice. Drawing on both published literature and personal experience, clinical examples will be presented of situations where Homeopathic medicines are frequently prescribed. This includes augmenting other approaches or providing additional treatment options in the absence of other therapeutic modalities. Conversely, situations will also be considered in which Homeopathic treatment is not deemed appropriate and the use of Homeopathy in a safe, balanced, and integrative manner will be highlighted.
Keywords: Homeopathy, Integration, General Practice, Primary Care.