Interview with Dr. Irena Gorišek, President of the Slovenian Homeopathic Society and NVP for Slovenia
"In Slovenia, homeopathy is still legally prohibited for physicians with a medical license to practice conventional medicine."
The Slovenian Homeopathic Society was founded in 1992. What was the situation in Slovenia like before this date?
Homeopathy has a long tradition in Slovenia. Physicians and some lay practitioners already practiced it in the early 19th century until the Second World War (WW2). There were pharmacies, as well, where homeopathic medicines have been sold. After WW2 we have no available data about homeopathy in Slovenia. Shortly before the Slovenian Homeopathic Society (SHD) was established on 6 May 1992, two physicians began to practice homeopathy, and afterwards, more physicians undertook homeopathic education.
How many homeopathic physicians are there in Slovenia?
In Slovenia, about 20 homeopathic physicians have theirown private practices. Since 1992, about 100 physicians have completed basic homeopathic education, but they've never started to work because homeopathy is still legally prohibited for physicians with a medical license to practice conventional medicine.
Do you differentiate between medical homeopathy and homeopathic practitioners?
In accordance with the Healing Practices Act (2007) only a person with a medical diploma and additional knowledge in homeopathy can practice homeopathy. But a physician desiring to practice homeopathy in Slovenia is obliged to return his/her medical licence, so statutorily (in accordance with the General Practitioners Services Act) physicians are prohibited from practicing homeopathy.
Is homeopathy an integrated part of the national Slovenian health care system?
No, homeopathy is not integrated into the Slovenian health care system.
What about the patients - do they ask for homeopathic treatment by physicians?
In the last few years, more and more patients are asking for homeopathic treatment.
How is the advanced medical training on homeopathy organized? Is homeopathy also taught at university faculties?
Since the beginning, the SHD has been in charge of a threeyear course of postgraduate education and training of physicians, dentists and pharmacists in compliance with the ECH Medical Homeopathic Education Standards. Lecturers are homeopathic physicians from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and other European countries. Homeopathy is not tought at the Medical Faculties.
Is there any cooperation between conventional medicine and homeopathic medicine?
There is no cooperation between conventional medicine and homeopathy.
Have your expectations for this International Homeopathy Day been fulfilled? Was there public awareness of this event among the general public or among politicians and health care decision makers?
About 160 people attended the International Symposium on Homeopathy that was organized by the LMHI, ECH and SHD to celebrate the International Homeopathy Day and promote public awareness of homeopathy in Slovenia. The symposium was a great success, and raised a lot of interest. Our most important message was spread and that is that homeopathy is a medical method and should be also a part of the Slovenian health care system.
How can the LMHI (the Liga) support you in obtaining official status for homeopathy in Slovenia?
During their visit in Ljubljana, Dr. Ulrich D. Fisher and Dr. Ton Nicolai had meetings with some of the health care decision makers (General Director of the Ministry of Health, President of the Slovenian Medical Association, Head of the Family Medicine Department of the Medical Faculty in Ljubljana, President of the National Medical Ethics Committee, and Chair of Committee on Health in the National Assembly). The atmosphere of the discussions was pretty open, carried out with much mutual respect. We hope that with these talks we lay down the foundation for an open and constructive dialogue between official medicine and homeopathy - and consequently the advancement of homeopathy within the national health care system will follow.