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Homoeopathy 'works for range of GP cases'

Homoeopathy can successfully treat a wide range of common conditions in general practice, a new GP study concludes.

The research will fuel the debate over whether NHS funds should be used to provide a service many view as quackery.

Study leader Dr Tim Robinson, a GP in Beaminster, Dorset, claimed he had proven homo-eopathy was effective in a variety of clinical areas, including ENT, dermatology and obs and gynae.

His research, published in Homoeopathy (January), assessed 489 homoeopathic consultations at his practice over the course of a year.

Some 78 per cent of patients reported a positive clinical response, just 19 per cent failed to respond and 3 per cent said the treatment had affected them negatively.

Dr Robinson, who is a lecturer in homoeopathy at the Bristol Homoeopathic Hospital, insisted the results were mirrored by a larger national study being prepared for publication.

He told Pulse: 'Homoeopathy certainly offers an alternative for many conditions we see in general practice. It's safe, it's cheap, it's a form of treatment for conditions that can't be treated conventionally. This is something you can offer in a 10- minute consultation.'

Nine per cent of Dr Robinson's 10-minute consultations now use homoeopathy.

His research drew a mixed response from GPs.

Dr Tanvir Jamil, a GP in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, who refers patients for homoeopathy, said: 'This is fantastic, this is a real positive thing. We have to use this as a stepping stone to further research. They're pretty impressive figures but the only true way of looking at this is a double-blind controlled study.'

But other GPs were far less convinced.

Dr Greg Place, a GP in Annesley Woodhouse and chair of Nottingham LMC, said: 'I have been a sceptic all my life with homoeopathy. I haven't seen a patient who has benefited.'

Dr Hua-Lon Liu, a GPSI in ENT, said: 'A lot of ENT conditions get better on their own. I would probably be quite sceptical of homoeopathy but if patients want to try I wouldn't stop them.'

Dr Jamil admitted many people had problems accepting homoeopathy. 'There's a big placebo factor,' he said, 'but there's a big placebo factor in medicine anyway.'

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