Undergraduate homeopathy education in Europe and the influence of accreditation
Received19 January 2011
revised12 June 2011
accepted22 June 2011
18 December 2017 (online)
Context: The safety of patients consulting with practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) partially depends on practitioners’ competence, and thus the standard of undergraduate education.
Objectives: Describe undergraduate homeopathy courses in Europe, student/graduate numbers and whether there were differences between recognised/accredited and non-recognised/non-accredited courses.
Methods: Cross sectional survey of current homeopathy undergraduate education in Europe in 2008. Data from 145 (94.8%) out of 153 identified courses were collected. Eighty-five (55.6%) responded to a questionnaire survey. For others some data was extracted from their websites. Only data from the questionnaire survey is used for the main analysis.
Findings: The average course in the questionnaire survey had 47 enrolled students and 142 graduates, and lasted 3.6 years part-time. An estimated 6500 students were enrolled and 21,000 had graduated from 153 identified European undergraduate homeopathy courses. Out of 85 courses most had entry requirements and provided medical education (N = 48) or required students to obtain this competence elsewhere (N = 33). The average number of teaching hours were 992 (95% confidence interval (CI) 814, 1170) overall, with 555 h (95%CI 496, 615) for homeopathy. Four out of five courses were recognised/accredited. Recognised/accredited part-time courses lasted significantly longer than non-recognised/non-accredited courses (difference 0.6 years, 95%CI 0.0–1.2, P = 0.040), and offered significantly larger numbers of teaching hours in homeopathy (difference 167 h, 95%CI 7–327, P = 0.041).
Conclusions: About 6500 currently enrolled students are doing undergraduate homeopathy education in Europe and 21,000 have graduated from such courses over a period of about 30 years. Undergraduate homeopathy education in Europe is heterogeneous. Recognised/accredited courses are more extensive with more teaching hours.
KeywordsComplementary and alternative medicine - Homeopathy - Undergraduate education - Recognition - Accreditation - Patient safety
a Prior affiliation: University of Central Lancashire, UK.
- 1 Council of Europe. A European approach to non-conventional medicines. 1999. Resolution 1206.
- 2 Shmueli A., Igudin I., Shuval J. Change and stability: use of complementary and alternative medicine in Israel: 1993, 2000 and 2007. Eur J Public Health 2010 Apr 6;.
- 3 Fox P., Coughlan B., Butler M., Kelleher C. Complementary alternative medicine (CAM) use in Ireland: a secondary analysis of SLAN data. Complement Ther Med 2010 Apr; 18 (02) 95-103.
- 4 Belgian law. Ministerie van Sociale Zaken, Volksgezondheid en Leefmilieu. Wet betreffende de niet-conventionele praktijken inzake de geneeskunde, de artsenijbereidkunde, de kinesitherapie, de verpleegkunde en de paramedische beroepen. Belgisch Staatsblad, N. 99 – 1947, 29 April 1999.
- 5 Danish Parliament. B 47 (som vedtaget): Forslag til folketingsbeslutning om en registreringsordning for alternative behandlere. Vedtaget af Folketinget ved 2. (sidste) behandling den 10. april 2003. [Parliamentary proposal for a public register for alternative practitioners. Adopted in Parliament at its 2nd (last) vote on 10 April 2003]. Retrieved March 7 2009. Available from: http://www.ft.dk/Samling/20021/beslutningsforslag_oversigtsformat/B47.htm.
- 6 Icelandic law. Healers Act 2005 No. 34, 11 May. Amended by Act No. 88/2008, 233. Art. (took effect 1 January 2009) Retrieved June 17 2010. Available from: http://eng.heilbrigdisraduneyti.is/laws-and-regulations/laws/nr/3163.
- 7 Liechtenstein law. Liechtensteinisches Landesgesetzblatt. Gesundheitsverordnung (GesV) vom 29. Januar 2008.
- 8 Liechtenstein law. Liechtensteinisches Landesgesetzblatt. Gesundheitsverordnung (GesG) vom 13. Dezember 2007.
- 9 Norwegian law. Besl. O. nr. 104 (2002–2003) Jf. Innst. O. nr. 98 (2002–2003) og Ot. Prp. Nr. 27 (2002–2003). Lov om alternativ behandling av sykdom mv. 2003. [Act No. 64 of 27 June 2003 relating to the alternative treatment of disease, illness, etc. 2003].
- 10 Portuguese law. Law 24/2003, Decree 38/2006. Project of law N° 263/IX [for framing the base of the non-conventional medicines] and Project of law N° 27/IX [Legal procedures of the non-conventional therapies]. 2006.
- 11 European Council for Classical Homeopathy (ECCH). The legal situation for the practice of homeopathy in Europe. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.homeopathy-ecch.org/images/stories/pdf/legal%20situation%20for%20homeopathic%20practice%20in%20europe.pdf 2009 May;.
- 12 Mills S.Y. Regulation in complementary and alternative medicine. Br Med J 2001; 322 (7279): 158-160.
- 13 Eisenberg D.M., Cohen M.H., Hrbek A., Grayzel J., Van Rompay M.I., Cooper R.A. Credentialing complementary and alternative medical providers. Ann Intern Med 2002; 137: 965-973.
- 14 Van den Brink-Muinen A., Rijken P.M. Does trust in health care influence the use of complementary and alternative medicine by chronically ill people?. BMC Public Health 2006; 6: 188 10.1186/1471-2458-6-188.
- 15 Kelner M., Wellman B., Welsh S., Boon H. How far can complementary and alternative medicine go? The case of chiropractic and homeopathy. Soc Sci Med 2006; 63 (10) 2617-2627.
- 16 Shahjahan R. Standards of education, regulation, and market control: perspectives on complementary and alternative medicine in Ontario, Canada. J Altern Complement Med 2004; 10 (02) 409-412.
- 17 Healthwork. National occupational standards in homeopathy. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/for-homeopaths/documents/8NOS.doc 2000
- 18 Stiftung Homöopathie-Zertifikat (SHZ). Akkreditierung – Ausbildung. Undated. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.homoeopathie-zertifikat.de.
- 19 Society of Homeopaths (SoH). Course recognition. Undated. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/becoming-a-homeopath/course-recognition/default.aspx.
- 20 European Council for Classical Homeopathy (ECCH). Annual report ECCH 2006–2007. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.homeopathy-ecch.org/images/stories/pdf/ecch%20annual%20report%202006-07.pdf 2007
- 21 European Council for Classical Homeopathy (ECCH). European guidelines for homeopathic education. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.homeopathy-ecch.org/images/stories/pdf/european%20guidelines%20for%20homeopathic%20education%20june%202000.pdf 2000 June;.
- 22 Norwegian Directorate of Social Affairs and Health. Committee report on education in acupuncture and homeopathy. Part 2 – homeopathy. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.helsedirektoratet.no/vp/multimedia/archive/00000/Homeopatutdanning_863a.pdf 2004 October;.
- 23 European Council for Classical Homeopathy (ECCH). The safety of homeopathy. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.homeopathy-ecch.org/images/stories/pdf/the%20safety%20of%20homeopathy%202009.pdf 2009 January;.
- 24 European Council for Classical Homeopathy (ECCH). ECCH guidelines for the bounds of competence of homeopaths. Retrieved January 29 2010. Available from: http://www.homeopathy-ecch.org/images/stories/pdf/ecch%20bounds%20of%20competence%20november%202008%201.pdf 2006 May;.