Jeni Worden MBChB MRCGP MFFom
Homeopathy was a branch of medicine that I knew very little about when I started my medical training in 1980. It was mentioned briefly when I was studying to be a GP but I remained ignorant and sceptical of the whole subject of complementary medicine. I became a partner in a GP practice in Dorset in 1991 and very quickly became pregnant with my first child, Liz, who was born in 1992. George followed in 1993 and I started to look for an alternative medical career to add on to my half time General Practice. By a sheer fluke, I found out about a course to train doctors and vets in homeopathy, run by doctors and vets, based in Oxford.
My hours spent working in homeopathy outside of General Practice meant that after ten years as a GP partner, I had to make a choice, so I left my practice and worked in a number of different private complementary medicine clinics for two and a half years. Realising that I missed the bustle of a GP practice more than I thought I would, I rejoined the NHS in 2003 as a salaried GP and now combine working as a conventional GP on two days a week with one day a week in my own private homeopathic practice.
I love the way that I can combine the two branches of medicine to treat my patients safely and effectively. Many of my patients now feel more like friends as I have learnt to talk less and listen more (although I have to keep practising that first bit!). Ok, so homeopathy cannot be used for everything, and if I feel a conventional approach would be the most effective, I will explain that to my patient. However, I now have a choice when it comes to helping my patients feel better, that I did not have when I first became a GP. That hopefully makes me a more sympathetic doctor and my patients happier.